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Kimberly Houk Reporting Threats of school violence made headlines all along the Wasatch front this week, from a gun-toting student at Layton's Northridge High, to allegations of a violent plot complete with a hit list at Granger High in the Salt Lake Valley. Tonight, a different perspective on these reports. We'll hear from the father of one of those accused.
"It was devastating, because the police wouldn't tell me nothing."
He's a father struggling for answers himself. KSL talked with this man about what it's like to be the father of a kid caught with what police called a "hit list".
Bud Badgett, Father: “It's just sad, and I would not want this to happen to anybody else.”
A father living a nightmare, being forced to convince people his son's not capable of murder.
Bud Badgett: “I do believe my son wouldn't do anything that tragic.”
Police credit an anonymous fax for averting a potential tragedy. The fax came from someone begging for protection from a boy named "Austin". It said Austin was a drug dealer who was planning to kill his enemies at school. And police tracked the name to 18-year old Austin Badgett, a senior at Granger High. They caught up to him at his home in West Valley City.
Bud Badgett: “They found nothing in the house except a .22, which was locked in my room.”
Police say it was loaded. They also hauled away pieces of a handgun, marijuana found underneath the seat of Austin's car, and knife found in his pocket. But what really caught their attention was a palm pilot with disturbing items listed in the "To-Do" section.
But the father says the electronic device belonged to Austin's younger brother.
Bud Badgett: “He and his friends were together one night and playing around, and wrote down their names, and put 'Kill', I guess beside it as a joke.”
But police didn't find it funny, instead they're calling it a "hit-list."
Bud Badgett: “The police had to make a tough call, and they did. But they need to take a look at him and see if it was the right one.”
Badgett says he understands the need to keep schools safe, but now he's looking at it from the other side, as a father who says his son's a good kid who was targeted by someone who knew a powerful fax number.
Bud Badgett: “Send an anonymous fax and have this commotion is disturbing to me.”
This case is now in the hands of the District Attorney's office. They'll decide if Badgett will be prosecuted for the hit list.