ROCKVILLE, Md. - A Montgomery County high school student accused of bringing a loaded gun to school will stay behind bars until his trial.
Defense attorneys representing 18-year-old Alwin Chen tried to convince the judge to release the Clarksburg High School student, arguing prosecutors misrepresented facts during Chen's initial bond review.
In making their case in court on Tuesday, Chen’s attorneys, Jill Michaels and David Felsen, reminded Judge John Moffitt appeared to lean heavily on the claim that Chen had a "list of grievances" when he decided to hold the teenager without bond until trial.
But prosecutors had a new argument of its own – a journal that included writings from Chen that appeared to show he was a very troubled young man.
"As stated by Judge Moffitt, it is not unusual when you go to a bond review initially to have additional facts that you learn about them” said Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy. “The new additional facts that were in detail outlined in open court today I think did not dissuade Judge Moffitt of his concern for public safety, but in fact heightened his concern for public safety.”
Court documents say the first entry in the journal said in part, “I am an insane and terrible person.” He also wrote towards the end of the entry, “Sometimes I think I am crazy or mentally ill but I hide it and refuse to admit it because I know how to cope and blend into society but it's just too lonely.”
Prosecutors paint Chen as a troubled person who wrote in the journal that he is worthless and ready to die, according to the court documents.
Prosecutors also revealed Chen brought the gun to school on several occasions – carrying it in a holster while sometimes wearing body armor.
After his arrest, Chen told police he brought the gun to school to protect himself and others in case of a school shooting, court documents say.
However, Chen’s attorney wanted to make very clear there were no direct threats made by the student.
"There was never a threat,” said Michaels. “There were no allegations of a threat. This is a good kid who is on the cusp of graduating, has two scholarships awaiting him.”
Prosecutors also pointed out that when Chen was interview by police, he admitted he assembled the gun from parts he ordered online with tools he bought from Home Depot. He also stated he learned how to use firearms by asking his father to take him to gun ranges.