LOWELL -- "DHS is gonna blow up today."
That was the message written in blue ink on a wall in the boys bathroom off the main lobby at Dracut High School. That message was discovered at 10:35 a.m. on May 24, 2013.
A second threat discovered in the A-wing boys bathroom read, "Still gonna blow up at 1.''
The school was evacuated at 12:50 p.m. for about 20 to 30 minutes.
But in a twist to the average bomb-threat message, Dracut police allege the student who reported the first threat is the same student who wrote both threats.
Police say then-student Michael Starkey signed into the lobby bathroom at 9:28 a.m. There were no functioning security cameras outside that bathroom at the time.
But police say they have security footage that shows Starkey entering the A-wing bathroom at 9:37 a.m. with a blue pen in his right hand.
Writing samples were sent to a court-qualified, board-certified handwriting analyst, Paul H. McDonald, who indicated it is "high probable" that threats were written by Starkey, police say.
In Lowell District Court on Monday, Starkey, 19, of Dracut, was released on personal recognizance on the condition that he stay away from Dracut High School after pleading not guilty to malicious destruction of property under $250 and bomb threat.
Prosecutors sought $500 cash bail, but defense attorney Debra Dewitt asked that Starkey be released on personal recognizance. She argued that Starkey, a special needs student, has dyslexia, yet there is "no indication" of any errors on either note.
Starkey left Dracut High School shortly after this incident.
Dracut police allege in court documents that when police responded to the school for the bomb threat, they spoke to a teacher who indicated Starkey reported the threat.
Starkey, who was a sophomore, allegedly told her, "Some kids wrote it. They want to get out of school. I want to get out of school too."
When police spoke to Starkey, prior to the second threat being photographed, he allegedly told them he was having a tough day because his aunt passed away the previous night. He told police he visited the lobby bathroom, but noticed a problem with the sign-in sheet.
Starkey told police he went into the bathroom, saw another student at the urinal, and then went into a stall where he saw the note. Sharkey provided police with a description of the other student, who he had never seen before.
While Starkey told police he took the sign-in sheets to the A-wing bathroom to give them to the monitor. He did not tell the monitor about the threat; instead, he told a teacher.
Samples of Starkey's writing were compared to the threats. Police also obtained writing samples from a student who used the A-wing bathroom around the same time. Teachers also tried to find the unidentified student who matched the description Starkey provided, to no avail.
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