All dressed up and looking for a war? Or just a squirrel hunter?

A student at St. Olaf College in Minnesota, Waylon Kurts, was charged with conspiracy to commit second-degree assault and conspiracy to commit threats of violence, among other charges. According to the charges, the items found in Kurts’ dorm room included a tactical vest, empty boxes for ammunition and magazines, a tactical knife, a folding knife, firearm earmuffs, six propane canisters, fireworks, lighter fluid, a battery with wires and a lock pick set. The Star Tribune reported that police also confiscated notebooks with writings that included a plot to steal ammunition from a retailer, police radio frequencies, and a hand-drawn map of the recreational facility on campus. The map included an arrow indicating a travel route and apparent exit path, the charges said. 

Kurts’ attorney, Paul Rogosheske, said Kurts “has some things that look funny,” but said there is nothing that poses a threat to anyone. Rogosheske said his client is a hunter who shoots a lot, and noted there were no guns or ammunition taken from Kurts’ room or vehicle. He said Kurts drew the map for someone else. Northfield Police Chief Mark Elliot said authorities are trying to determine what, if anything, Kurts had in mind. St. Olaf officials said they became suspicious of Kurts when a custodian saw two empty packages for high-capacity magazines in a garbage can. The college then reached out to officers at the Northfield Police Department to report items “connected to potential acts of violence” found in the student’s dorm room. The student was arrested a day later on suspicion of threats of violence. 

The criminal complaint also notes that, outside of the items found in Kurts’ room and vehicle, they also found texts between him and someone about buying a gun from unlicensed sellers. Kurts had also texted photos of a box filled with rifle magazines on a bench with the words “Kids’ve got no idea whats in here.” Further, some of the notes in Kurts’ vehicle allegedly said “combat is much faster and closer than you think” and “the average door takes 2.5 kicks”. The notes also contained training directions for where to shoot a person on their body. 


When Conspiracy is a Crime

Conspiracy is not a crime in and of itself. You cannot be charged with simply “conspiracy.” Instead, you would be charged with conspiracy to commit a crime of some kind. Conspiracy is the act of planning out a crime. It does not matter whether the crime actually took place, as it is illegal to simply get together with at least one other person and plan out the details of the unlawful act.

It is worth noting that you can face conspiracy charges for conspiring to commit virtually any crime, including relatively minor offenses like vandalism or shoplifting. However, the penalties for these conspiracies cannot be lower than the maximum penalty for the actual crimes. If you are charged with conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor, you will likely face a relatively light sentence.

Things become much more serious if you conspire to commit a felony. Examples include conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit drug trafficking, and conspiracy to commit fraud. The federal conspiracy statute states that you can face up to five years in prison for conspiracy, but Mississippi lays out much more serious penalties for certain conspiracies. For example, conspiracy to commit murder can result in a prison sentence of up to 20 years.


Can You be Charged With Conspiracy?

You can be charged with conspiracy if you play any role in the planning or execution of the crime. Even if your involvement in the crime is extremely minimal, you may still face charges. That being said, courts may dismiss charges if you did not commit an “overt act.” This means that you need to take concrete steps in order to prepare for the crime. In other words, you cannot be charged with conspiracy for merely talking with friends about a crime.


Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today 

If you have been searching the Mississippi area for a qualified criminal defense attorney, look no further than Vic Carmody Jr., P.A. Over the years, we have dealt with many criminal cases, including those that involve conspiracy. Although it can seem confusing and distressing to face charges for a crime that never actually occurred, you need to take these charges very seriously. With our help, you can fight for your rights and freedoms. Book your consultation today.

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