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      Atty: Socastee HS shooting suspect was bullied

      Socastee High shooting suspect in court Friday / Angie Dones

      The Socastee student accused of taking bombs to school and shooting at a school resource officer has been placed on suicide watch. The 14-year-old will remain in the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice in Columbia for at least 10 more days.

      The hearing took just a few minutes and the boy didn't say anything in court. But afterward, his attorney had a few things to say about his defense. It will include a claim the boy was bullied.

      Short and slight, wearing a black T-shirt and black jeans, the juvenile was led into the courtroom in shackles. The only purpose of the hearing was to decide whether he should stay in detention for the time being and his attorney didn't contest that.

      At his next hearing, Assistant Solicitor Alicia Richardson says they'll ask the judge to move the case to adult court. "Based on the serious nature of the charge and the potential loss of life that could have occurred in this incident."

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      But defense attorney Russell Long says, emotionally and psychologically, his client is not a grown-up. "He's a little boy. He did do a big boy crime, but he doesn't need to be treated like an adult in the court system. We're definitely going to fight that."

      Long says the boy has been under what he calls the dark cloud of bullying for nearly half his 14 years. Long says that's not an excuse for what he did at school, but the bullying has taken a toll. "We've got some records of years of problems, not just at school. School bus, bus stop, playground, neighborhood. For some reason, kids just picked on him as an easy target."

      The attorney says the boy's parents are "totally destroyed" by what their son is accused of doing.

      Long says, based on the juvenile's emotional issues, it's appropriate that he be placed on suicide watch. "You know, he consented to it. He, in his mind, knows that there's that issue within him right now and so it was a valid request."

      The juvenile will undergo a psychiatric evaluation by the Department of Juvenile Justice.

      Some information from that evaluation is expected to come up at his next hearing.

      The juvenile will be back in Conway for another detention hearing October 5th.