Riverbend High

Students leave Riverbend High on Monday afternoon, the first day of school after police announced the arrests of two students on conspiracy to commit murder charges. The arrests were announced Oct. 24.

Barring a change of heart, a Spotsylvania teenager accused of plotting to shoot students at Riverbend High School last year will plead guilty next week.

During a brief hearing Tuesday in Spotsylvania Circuit Court, attorneys set a March 3 hearing for 17-year-old Tristen Smith to enter guilty pleas.

Smith is charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

He is also charged with making written threats.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Travis Bird said there is no agreement with Smith or his codefendant, 16-year-old Gavin B. Oztuna.

Oztuna is also charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. An April 1 date for him to enter a plea was set Tuesday.

If they follow through with the planned pleas, sentencing hearings will be scheduled for later.

Court documents state that the plan, which police say they stopped long before it could come to pass, called for Smith to open fire as the school was being evacuated.

Police found witnesses and online writings tying the teens to the plot. Court records accuse Oztuna of encouraging Smith but there was no talk of Oztuna doing any of the shooting.

Court records and social media postings indicate that Smith was upset about how he’d been treated by people at the school.

Smith wrote that he had specific targets but would take out others “if I have the time.”

He warned at least two girls that something was brewing, according to court records, and told them not to come to school on whichever day he decided to execute his plan.

He warned in one online post that he was “going to make everyone feel the pain they caused me.”

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​Keith Epps: 540.374-5404 

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