Joshua Kyler Hoggan of Roy, Utah, probably wasn’t thinking this far ahead when he conspired to blow up his high school last year.
Hoggan, now 18 and a student at Weber State University, has declared his candidacy for mayor of Roy, challenging two-term incumbent Joe Ritchie and City Council member Willard Cragun, according to the Ogden Standard-Examiner.
Roy is a suburban community about 30 miles north of Salt Lake City.
“I feel that my past with the Roy High School incident can definitely play a role in whether I could gain enough votes to secure the mayoral role,” Hoggan wrote in an email to the Standard-Examiner.
“I’ve made more than my fair share of mistakes, and I feel that being trusted with the mayorship would be the ultimate way for me to fully give back to my community,” Hoggan added.
In January 2012, when Hoggan was 16, he and 18-year-old Dallin Todd Morgan were charged with conspiracy to possess explosives and plotting to set off a bomb during a school assembly.
A probable cause statement posted by KSL-TV indicates this was not a causal or idle threat.
“If I tell you one day not to go to school, make damn sure you and [name redacted] are not there,” Hoggan wrote in a text message to a friend.
“Explosives, airport, airplane … we’re just gonna kill and fly our way to a country that won’t send us back to the US,” he continued.
Hoggan confessed when confronted, telling police he’d made a pipe bomb before. “Joshua’s plan was to steal a plane from Ogden airport and make their escape after setting off a bomb off [sic] during an assembly,” the probable cause statement says, adding that Hoggan practiced flying on a computer flight simulator.
Hoggan also told police he was fascinated with the Columbine High School shooting in Colorado and had interviewed the principal at the school. Police confirmed that the interview took place.
“Joshua told me that he was offended by the fact that he was compared to the Columbine killers,” wrote Roy police officer Tyler Tomlinson. “Joshua was offended by the fact that those killers only completed one per cent of their plan and he was much more intelligent then that.”
In a plea agreement, Hoggan pleaded guilty to possession of a weapon of mass destruction and served six months in juvenile detention. Prosecutors agreed to suspend efforts to try Hoggan as an adult.
Morgan pleaded no contest to second-degree criminal mischief and was sentenced to 105 days in jail.
Roy officials say Hoggan is not barred from public office because his criminal case was handled in juvenile court.
Mayor Ritchie told the Salt Lake Tribune, “He has a right to run and is a qualified candidate but I can’t figure out for the life of me why he’d want to run.”
The Tribune reported last year that Hoggan’s attorney said his client didn’t intend to hurt anyone and was trying to attract attention to the dangers of mass shootings.
Hoggan will have plenty of opportunity to explain his past and his future at a news conference he’s scheduled for Monday.