The five defendants who were arrested at a compound in New Mexico where authorities say they were training children to conduct school shootings have been released on bail. Judge Sarah Backus released them on $20,000 bond and they will each be required to wear an ankle monitor. She also barred them from drinking alcohol and owning firearms while they are out on bail. One of the suspects, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, will likely remain in prison because he is facing charges in Georgia for kidnapping his young son.
The five suspects were arrested last week at a makeshift compound in a remote area of the desert near the border between New Mexico and Colorado. Authorities were searching for a child, who they believe was abducted by Wahhaj and brought to the compound. They raided the compound after receiving a note from inside that described the horrific conditions there. They found 11 children living on the property, who were then put into protective custody. They also found the body of a young boy, believed to be Wahhaj's son. Family members say that he killed the disabled child during a religious ritual to cleanse him of a demon, though the identity of the child has not been confirmed.
The judge decided to allow the defendants to be freed despite the "troubling facts about numerous children in far from ideal circumstances." She ruled the prosecution failed to show the defendants were an imminent threat to the public and did not provide enough evidence to show they were planning an attack.
"The state alleges that there was a big plan afoot,” Backus said. “But the state hasn’t shown to my satisfaction, in clear and convincing evidence, what the plan was.”