Mom Snitches on Son Allegedly Planning 'Saw'-Inspired Murders

Teens were arrested after mom overheard alleged plot to kidnap and kill three.

March 20, 2009, 10:57 AM

March 20, 2009— -- It was an alleged murderous plot ripped from the movies: Police say two teenage boys hatched a plan to kidnap, torture and kill two students and a school police officer.

But they were apparently foiled by one boy's mother, who, according to court documents, told police she had overheard her son and his friend discussing how to lure their intended victims to locations they had already selected.

John, 15, and Noor, 14, were charged in suburban Salt Lake City, Utah, as juveniles with three counts of conspiracy to commit aggravated kidnapping after telling police they planned to model the killings on the torture scenes in the horror blockbuster "Saw," according to court documents.

ABC News has chosen to use the boys' first names only because of their ages.

The court documents, which by Utah state law can be released with the boys' full names despite their juvenile status, say that John's mother called police March 7 after listening in on her son's conversation.

His mother told police that "they wanted to make sure to have cameras and camcorders so they could take pictures of what they were doing, because they wanted people to know who did it, so they could become famous," the documents say.

John's father also reported hearing part of the conversations and confirmed, in the court documents, "that they were discussing killing several people and the different locations this would happen."

John's parents could not be reached by and Noor's father declined to comment on the charges against his son. When asked who represents the teens, the District Attorney's office referred to a local law firm where a woman who answered the phone said the firm would not confirm or deny that John and Noor were clients.

After being taken into custody, the two boys admitted their plan to Murray Police Detective Cameron Jarvis, according to the court documents, and told him they had planned to make a more detailed list of people they wanted to kidnap, torture and kill.

On the list was a female student from Midvale Middle School in suburban Salt Lake City, which Noor attends, as well as the school's police officer. The local media have reported that the third intended victim, also female, attends another middle school in another district.

At one point, according to the court documents, John told Jarvis that "we weren't joking" and both teens said they wanted to harm people "who had done harm to others."

It was during this interview, according to court documents, that both boys told the detective they wanted their crime to emulate scenes from "Saw."

In the 2004 movie, a serial killer named Jigsaw devises complex puzzles for his victims to solve, leading to their gruesome deaths if they fail the tests. The movie also spawned several sequels with the same theme.

Jarvis declined to comment on the boys' interviews, referring all questions to the district attorney's office, which, in turn, deferred to the juvenile court.

'Difficult and Heartbreaking'

Steven Dunham, a spokesman for the Jordan School district, which includes Midvale, where Noor was enrolled in the eighth grade, said the school district, which is the largest in the state, learned about the charges against the boys from the local media. Midvale officials were notified shortly after the arrests were made March 7, he said.

"We really feel this is a police matter," he said, adding that no crimes or activity related to the alleged plot took place on school grounds as far as the district knows.

Crisis counselors, he said, were made available at the school "to talk with anybody who wanted to talk."

Once the story hit the news, Midvale Middle School principal Paula Logan released an e-mailed statement to parents, reassuring them that the school is still a safe environment for their children.

"I am grateful to the parent who was aware of concerns and her efforts to involve the police," Logan said in the e-mail. "What a difficult decision it must be to call the police regarding your own child. I cannot imagine the pain she must be going through."

Logan also praised the police and the school staff for their response and for assisting the student who was allegedly targeted by the teens.

"This has been difficult and heartbreaking," she wrote. "But even more so, the families of both the involved student and the victim are struggling."

The district's Dunham said he couldn't comment specifically on what disciplinary action Noor could or has faced. John attended West High School in the Salt Lake City School District.

But, in general, district policy is to remove the child from the school pending a police investigation. Once that investigation is complete, the district will hold an expulsion hearing.

Turning In Their Children

The Salt Lake City Deseret News quoted a neighbor of Noor's as saying positive things about the teen and his family, which she said immigrated from Iraq.

But the same newspaper quoted Elisa Johnson, a neighbor of John's, who called the teen "creepy" and claimed he had spoken to her children about violent and sexual subjects.

While a wrenching decision for any parent, John's mom isn't the first to report a child to police.

Last week, Melvin Bardwell appeared in an Atlanta court, accused of murdering another man during a robbery, after Bardwell's father tipped off police, according to the local ABC affiliate.

Also last week, on March 14, two brothers, Terry McElveen, 24, and Thatcher McElveen, 30, were found guilty in a New Orleans court of second-degree murder in the 2002 killing of a 21-year-old man.

The men's mother, Janice McElveen, not only turned her sons into police, according to The Associated Press, but collected an $18,000 reward and testified for the prosecution, although police said they had her arrested as a material witness to ensure she'd follow through on the latter.

And a Milwaukee mother last year turned in both of her teenage children, a son and a daughter, after she recognized them from a police surveillance video aired in a news report about a robbery at a store, earning praise from police and bloggers alike.

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