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Homicidal thoughts weren't a threat, lawyer says

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A Sissonville man accused of saying he would take a gun to a high school football game and start shooting was expressing his darkest fears to his counselor, not making threats, his attorney told a jury Monday.

"It wasn't something that was a threat, but a thought in his head," said John Sullivan, the lawyer for Shawn Patrick Foglesong, whose trial began Monday. Foglesong, 40, is charged with threats of terroristic acts.

Kanawha County assistant prosecutor Michele Drummond told jurors that Foglesong told his counselor, Jonathan Proctor, at Highland Hospital on Sept. 14 that he was having homicidal thoughts and "thinking of killing someone, up close and personal."

Foglesong told Proctor said that he was scared he might wear a mask to a Sissonville High School football game and open fire, hoping to commit suicide by drawing police fire, Drummond told the jury. Foglesong allegedly said he wanted to commit the violent act around Halloween, when no one would question his wearing a mask.

Officials at the hospital informed police, who arrested Foglesong the day he was released from the hospital, Sept. 28.

A Kanawha County sheriff's deputy, who serves as the school resource officer at Sissonville High, was made aware of what Foglesong had said and word spread through the community, Drummond said.

Foglesong's photo was posted at schools and on athletic fields, according to Drummond. Security at Sissonville's football game was also increased.

"The word leaked out from the police and school," Sullivan said, adding that what was shared was taken out of context. "What was said was in a confidential counseling session."

Sullivan emphasized to the jury that Foglesong had been put on new medications and released from the hospital. "It was a success story," he said.

Proctor testified that Foglesong had come to the hospital seeking treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder after he witnessed a friend commit suicide with a gun. He also had attempted suicide multiple times, Proctor said.

Foglesong never identified those he intended to kill, but said they were "bad people" and one in particular was a "sexual predator," according to Proctor.

The trial will continue Tuesday in front of Kanawha Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey.

If found guilty, Foglesong faces a fine of no less than $5,000 and no more than $25,000. He also faces prison time of no less than one year and no more than three years. He has remained in jail on $125,000 bond since his arrest.

Reach Kate White at kate.white@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1723.


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