Teen facing terror charge to undergo psychiatric exam

6:01 PM, Mar 13, 2013   |    comments
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Benjamin Malachino

COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. (WZZM) -- A junior at Comstock Park High School appeared in court for a bond hearing Wednesday after being formally charged with threats of terrorism.

Benjamin Malachino, 17, allegedly sent text messages threatening to sexually assault one student and kill several others.

Lawyers for Malachino and the state agreed he should undergo a psychiatric examination at a forensic facility in Ypsilanti. Following that, he will be taken to a secure inpatient facility.

Malachino's parents appeared at the brief hearing, but said nothing.

The Kent County Prosecutor's Office tells WZZM 13 News this law was only added to Michigan's books in 2002. It was a response to several events including 9/11 and Columbine.

Only 13 people have been tried under the 'threats of terrorism' law in Kent County. 10 of those were juveniles. Malachino will be the first adult to able to stand trial for this charge. Only two other adults in Kent County were charged under this law-- one died, and the other was unfit to stand trial. 17-year-olds are commonly considered to be adults in the eyes of the courts.

To be charged with threats of terrorism the threat has to be a felony, an act that threatens human life, or something that creates panic in public or influences an agency of government to do something.

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