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Teacher Knew Teen Accused of Deadly Plot

Teacher Knew Teen Accused of Deadly Plot

Posted - Jul. 9, 2003 at 8:30 p.m.



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Samantha Hayes reporting The recent arrest of three New Jersey teens accused of planning a killing rampage has an interesting connection to Utah.

The high school teacher of one of the boys just retired and moved back to Utah.

New Jersey police feel they stopped Collingswood High School from becomming another Columbine. And as a teacher who worked there tells us, the student she knew-- who is now the main suspect-- needed help for a long time.

Sally Hemingway sits in the living room of her new West Valley home watching as her old town, her school, and her student are national news.

Sally Hemingway/ Suspect's teacher: "I saw a clip on CNN this morning of him with his hand in handcuffs being led out of the Oakland police station, and he was so docile. I thought, 'That's Matt, so quiet and docile.' He was in sweatpants. He looked just like I had him in school."

Matthew Lovett was in Sally Hemingway's home economics class two years ago.

Now he and two other teens are in custody after an alleged car jacking. That's when police found weapons and 3,000 rounds of ammunition. Police say the suspects had specific teenagers targeted to kill.

Sally Hemingway: "Hind sight is 20/20. You wouldn't be surprised because he was so withdrawn. I'm not surprised."

Hemingway observed Lovett's interaction with other students for a year, and says she tried to help by giving him clothes.

Sally Hemingway: "He would wear the clothes I gave him, very often (I'd) see him in those clothes. So I was surprised to hear his father had all these guns. Like, the kid never had any nice clothes to wear. Why did his father have all these guns?"

Child psychologist Douglas Goldsmith says its teasing, often for years at a time, that prompts kids like Lovett to think violently.

Douglas Goldsmith: "We listen on campuses to the kids who are acting out and causing trouble. It's the kids who are quietly being harassed on a daily basis who are erupting on our school grounds."

Sally Hemingway says she never felt in danger around Lovett. She described him as a polite person, but a young man with no detectable emotion, not even anger.

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