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Two teens sentenced in high school rifle threat

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CANTON — The two teenagers who caused the shutdown of Colton-Pierrepont Central School in March when a rifle was displayed in a car window had their sentencing adjourned for one year Monday in St. Lawrence County Court.

Sawyer M. Pignona, 17, of 96 Postwood Road, Hannawa Falls, and Connor I. Warden, 17, of 19 Sisson St., Potsdam, both were placed under one year of interim probation after pleading guilty earlier this summer to criminal possession of a weapon on school grounds.

Both teens pleaded guilty to the charges against them, Mr. Pignona in July and Mr. Warden in August, as a result of an agreement reached July 9 among their attorneys, school officials and District Attorney Nicole M. Duve. Pignona also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of second-degree menacing.

Warden told state police that he drove Pignona to Colton-Pierrepont about 3:50 p.m. March 18. Once there, Pignona brandished the weapon from a car window, causing a panic that sent the school into lockdown.

St. Lawrence County Judge Jerome J. Richards told the teens that the terms and conditions of their one-year term would include community service in the form of a 25- to 30-minute presentation to be given at all consenting school districts in St. Lawrence County.

That is reduced from the original one hour that was agreed upon in the plea deal.

The presentation is expected to include a discussion of the events leading up to the incident, the consequences and the impact on others and the community, the role of social media and lessons learned. For every school district that chooses not to participate, 25 hours of community service will be imposed, with priority to be given to the Colton-Pierrepont community for those hours.

Both teens, who are students at Potsdam High School, also have a no-contact order of protection against them requiring that they not come within 1,000 feet of the school unless given specific instructions stating otherwise by Colton-Pierrepont Superintendent Joseph A. Kardash.

If Pignona and Warden are successful in their completion of interim probation they will earn the opportunity to have their felony pleas vacated, plead guilty to misdemeanor charges and be sentenced to probation for three years.

Due to their age, they also may be considered for youthful offender status at the discretion of the court.

Sentencing has been scheduled to Sept. 15, 2014.

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