ST. GEORGE — A judge told a southern Utah teenager on Tuesday that he may serve up to life in prison if he is convicted on charges he fashioned a makeshift backpack bomb and tried to set it off in school at lunchtime.
"It could be a minimum of 10 years up to your natural life in prison," Judge Eric Ludlow told 16-year-old Martin Ryan Farnsworth during the teen's brief first appearance in 5th District Court in St. George.
Farnsworth, appearing in a gray polo shirt over a video feed from a detention center, did not have a discernible reaction. He sat quietly and replied "Yes, your honor," early in the proceeding when the judge asked if he could hear.
A juvenile court judge last week ordered the teen to face charges as an adult of attempted murder and of using a weapon of mass destruction, first-degree felonies. Both carry a potential sentence of at least five years and up to life in prison and could potentially run one after the other, Ludlow explained.
The boy also faces misdemeanor charges related to a separate incident at Hurricane High School, where he is accused of painting "ISIS is comi--" on a school wall, cutting up an American flag there and replacing it with a makeshift ISIS flag. Those charges remain in the juvenile system.
Pine View High School in St. George was evacuated in March after students discovered a smoking backpack, allegedly prepared and left by Farnsworth. No injuries were reported.