Police: South Dakota Teen Wanted to Be 'Infamous Sociopath'

September 1, 2010 - 3:47 PM
An 18-year-old high school student stockpiled bomb-making materials in his bedroom and wrote about wanting to blow up his school, target individuals he hated, rape women and "become the world's most infamous sociopath," authorities said.
Sisseton, S.D. (AP) - An 18-year-old high school student stockpiled bomb-making materials in his bedroom and wrote about wanting to blow up his school, target individuals he hated, rape women and "become the world's most infamous sociopath," authorities said.
 
Joseph Thomas Hansen, of Claire City, was arrested Aug. 23 after someone tipped off a police school resource officer that Hansen had talked about an attack, authorities said.
 
"Thanks to an alert citizen and a school resource officer, they were able to prevent a very serious and potentially dangerous situation," state Attorney General Marty Jackley said by phone Wednesday.
 
He pleaded not guilty Tuesday to selling, transporting or possessing an explosive device and possessing substances with the intent to make a destructive device, and is due back in court Sept. 14. If convicted of all charges, he could face up to 25 years in prison, Jackley said.
 
Hansen remained jailed Wednesday in lieu of $500,000 bond and was unavailable to comment. A man who answered the phone at the family's home who identified himself as Hansen's father, Roland Hansen, referred questions to his son's attorney, Scott Bratland. Bratland did not immediately return phone messages seeking comment.
 
During a search of Hansen's room, investigators found a list Hansen wrote of things he wanted to do, including blow up Sisseton High School - where he was set to begin his senior year the day after his arrest - torture and rape women and "become the world's most infamous sociopath," according to an affidavit filed Monday.
 
He listed 39 people he hated and the reasons why, and he researched the 1999 Columbine school massacre in Littleton, Colo., in which two student gunmen killed 12 classmates and a teacher and wounded 26 others before committing suicide, investigators said.
 
Detectives also found drawings of swastikas, documents outlining two attempts to make napalm, instructional materials on how to make bombs, four guns and a video showing two explosive devices detonating, according to the affidavit.
 
Two people whose names were redacted in the affidavit told Roberts County Sheriff's investigators that Hansen told them he "had enough fireworks to blow up Sisseton and that the first day of school would be a short one," the court documents state.
 
During an initial interview with police, Hansen said he was fascinated by mass murder, read books on the subject and wanted to know what makes killers tick, authorities said. He also expressed an interest in the Marine Corps, demolitions and becoming a criminal profiler, according to the court documents.
 
Clair City has only 85 residents and there are only about 2,500 people living in the area around Sisseton, which is in northeast South Dakota, near the state's borders with North Dakota and Minnesota.
 
Kirk Snaza, a youth director at the Christian Outreach Center in Sisseton, said he drove a school bus for a while and occasionally picked up Hansen, who he described as a quiet loner.
 
Amanda Ostby, a 24-year-old hairdresser at Little Shop for Hair in Clair City, said she was shocked by the arrest.
 
"He was a nice kid, well mannered," said Ostby. "He was a super nice kid so it's pretty unbelievable."
 
"They are a very, very nice family."
 
Sisseton School Superintendent Stephen Schulte said counselors have been made available to students.
 
"We're dealing with this the best we can," he said by phone Wednesday.