CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A Kanawha County jury said Wednesday morning that a Sissonville man who told his counselor that he had thoughts of taking a gun and opening fire at a local high school was not making a threat.
Jurors deliberated about three hours and found Shawn Patrick Foglesong, 40, not guilty of making threats of terroristic acts. They began deliberations Tuesday afternoon.
Prosecutors said that when Foglesong told his counselor at Highland Hospital about the thoughts, that alone constituted a threat. The counselor alerted a police officer at Sissonville High School, and after word got around, Foglesong was arrested.
Defense attorney John Sullivan told jurors Tuesday that Foglesong was afraid of his thoughts, and was confiding them in his counselor in an attempt to get better. "Shawn did not commit a crime in the therapy room at Highland Hospital," Sullivan said during closing arguments.
During his stay at the psychiatric hospital last September, Foglesong told his counselor he was having suicidal and homicidal thoughts and "thinking of killing someone, up close and personal."
Foglesong also said 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. Foglesong allegedly said he wanted to commit the violent act around Halloween, when no one would question his wearing a mask, his counselor testified during the trial.
Sullivan said after the verdict that even though officials at the hospital felt obligated to report his client's statements to law enforcement, "that doesn't make anyone guilty of a crime."
"He never intended it to be a threat," Sullivan said. He argued during the trial that Foglesong was only expressing his darkest fears to his counselor.