Teenager is accused of threatening to kill federal judges, prosecutor

bestep@herald-leader.comJanuary 11, 2013 

A teenager has been charged with threatening to kill two federal judges and a federal prosecutor.

Michael A. Collins, who was a student at the Appalachian ChalleNGe Academy in Harlan County, is accused of telling a counselor he planned to shoot everyone involved in the child-pornography prosecution of his father, according to a sworn statement from Deputy U.S. Marshal Rick Kelley.

Collins was charged in a complaint filed Friday in federal court.

Collins' father, John Collins, was sentenced in October 2011 to 11 years in federal prison for possession of child pornography.

The judge in the case was David Bunning, and the prosecutor was Jason Denny, according to the affidavit.

In December, Michael A. Collins told a counselor at the academy that after he graduated in December, he would spend Christmas with his family and then begin killing people involved in putting his father in prison, Kelley said in his affidavit.

The academy is a program for 16- to 18-year-olds who have dropped out of school or are at risk of doing so, according to its website.

Collins told the counselor he would target police who arrested his father, the prosecutor, the judge, and his father's defense attorney, whom he felt hadn't done a good job, Kelley said in his statement.

Collins also said he would kill people at Limewire, which apparently was the source of child porn John Collins had gotten and which notified authorities, according to Kelley.

Collins discussed details of how many weapons and the amount of ammunition he would need and told the counselor the attacks would require at least three gunmen, Kelley said.

Collins said he had been practicing with friends by firing from an elevated position with different rifles, according to Kelley's statement.

The counselor told Kelley that Collins "appeared very cold, calm and did not listen to reason," Kelley said in the affidavit, which he submitted in seeking to charge Collins.

Kelley said there was good reason to believe Collins threatened to kill Bunning, Denny and U.S. Magistrate Judge Edward Atkins.

Local police took Collins to the hospital in Harlan on Dec. 12 to be evaluated. The psychologist there concluded there was a serious risk Collins would attempt to carry out the threats. Collins has been hospitalized involuntarily since, a court record indicates.

A federal prosecutor said in a court motion that authorities plan to hold off serving an arrest warrant on Collins while he continues to be hospitalized involuntarily and treated, but will prosecute him afterward.

Bill Estep: (606) 678-4655. Twitter: @billestep1

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