James Bailey McKeegan, 13 didn’t get along with his father’s live-in girlfriend Heather Hodges, 28, and Hodges didn’t care much for him either. She took their commonplace rivalry to a new level when she planted a pistol in the child’s backpack and reported him to his school, all to teach him a lesson.
Hodges was incensed by McKeegan’s bullying of her own children, ages four and seven, so she lifted her boyfriend’s 9-millimeter Smith and Wesson handgun and put it in McKeegan’s backpack before he left for his school day. She then called Magnolia Junior High School from a nearby payphone to report him by name.
Hodges has now pleaded guilty to unlawful carrying of a weapon on restricted premises to avoid two lesser charges. District Court Judge Kelly Case said that Hodges actions were “evil,” Your Houston News reports, and noted that it was ironic that she was acting to protect her own children by endangering McKeegan.
After the gun was found in his backpack, McKeegan was taken from school and placed in Montgomery County’s juvenile detention facility until Hodges confessed days later after multiple interviews with investigators.
McKeegan has since moved to Louisiana to live with his mother. Hodges was sentenced to three years in prison for her actions.
Judge Case expressed his bewilderment at her actions during the sentencing:
(McKeegan’s) life will never be the same. It bothers me greatly. I have a bigger issue, and that’s the school. Children going to school need to be safe. They don’t need to be worried about having guns show up at school. This is not Beirut. This is Montgomery County, Texas. For whatever reason you decided to blame that child, I find irrelevant. The fact that you’re not on drugs, or have a major personality disorder puts you in the category of being someone I would call ‘evil.’
I cannot fathom why you thought this would be a good idea. It makes no sense to me.