After spending the past 15 months in jail, the would-be Freedom High School bomber has finally learned his fate. Hillsborough Circuit Judge Kimberly Fernandez sentenced Jared Cano (see page 3), now 18, to 15 years in prison on December 5. Cano has 30 days to appeal the sentence. His maximum sentence was 37 years.
Cano’s mother pleaded with Judge Fernandez to give her son another chance, explaining that he needed only the right balance of therapy and medication. Cano’s sister was escorted from the courtroom during an emotional reaction to her brother’s sentence. Cano, himself, also wept as his sentence was announced.
Cano was arrested in early August 2011 after a confidential informant told police that he was planning to set off a bomb and stage a school shooting on the first day of the 2011-12 school year that would be “larger than both the 1999 Columbine High massacre and the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings.”
Cano was charged with threatening to discharge an explosive device and possession of bomb-making materials after Tampa Police Department (TPD) officers searched his mother’s Tampa Palms apartment, where he lived.
“For those of you retards who don’t know who I am, I’m the Freedom High School shooter,” Cano said in a cell-phone video released by prosecutors last month, revealing the teen’s troubled state of mind. “Well, I will be in a couple of months.”
In the video, Cano detailed his plan to set off four bombs in each corner of the Freedom cafeteria, before advancing on the Freedom courtyard, front office and parking lot, killing as many people as possible.
Another video shows Cano smoking a bowl of marijuana and discussing his desire to die, possibly alongside a fellow student, whom he also says he fears might “snitch” on him.