Crime

Atascadero teen formally sentenced for San Gabriel Elementary threats

Bret Landen, 18, of Atascadero pleaded no contest April 20 to two felonies stemming from a horror-movie-style stunt Sept. 11, 2015, that included leaving riddles on notes for San Gabriel ElementarySchool staff members, urging them to “play a game,” police said.
Bret Landen, 18, of Atascadero pleaded no contest April 20 to two felonies stemming from a horror-movie-style stunt Sept. 11, 2015, that included leaving riddles on notes for San Gabriel ElementarySchool staff members, urging them to “play a game,” police said. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

The Atascadero teenager who pleaded no contest to charges linked to elaborate threats that lead to a two-week-long closure of San Gabriel Elementary School last year was formally sentenced Wednesday, according to the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office.

Bret Landen, 18, pleaded guilty April 20 to two felonies stemming from the horror-movie-style stunt on Sept.11, 2015, that included leaving riddles on notes for school staff members urging them to “play a game,” police said.

Police said a container with a low-toxicity form of cyanide also was found fastened to a chain-link fence near a student playground.

The incident led police and the Atascadero Unified School District to close the campus for two weeks, rerouting students to neighboring schools while hazardous materials crews surveyed the campus for anything dangerous.

Landen originally was charged with 30 felonies. His two no-contest pleas were to charges of threatening to use a weapon of mass destruction and making criminal threats, according to a District Attorney’s Office news release.

In addition to jail time, Landed was placed on felony probation for five years, during which he will be forced to undergo counseling “to address the causes of the conduct underlying these crimes,” the news release stated.

The terms of the plea deal also require Landen to pay restitution to the Atascadero Unified School District and individual victims. Landen could face a punishment of more than six years in state prison if he violates his probation or other related court orders, according to the news release.

The plea will count as a “strike” under California’s Three Strikes Law.

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