Hillsborough, N.C. — An East Chapel Hill High School student pleaded guilty Wednesday to holding a teacher and another student hostage last year and was sentenced to five years' probation with several conditions.
Most prominent among the conditions that Superior Court Judge Kenneth Titus imposed on William Barrett Foster, 18, is wearing a global-positioning system device that keeps authorities updated on where he is 24 hours a day.
Foster entered the plea to two counts each of second-degree kidnapping and assault by pointing a gun and one count of discharging a gun on school property. He had earlier pleaded not guilty to the charges by reason of insanity.
Wednesday, his attorneys painted him as a mentally ill young man, diagnosed with schizophrenia, who is on medication, in treatment and will comply with all of the court orders.
Foster carried a shotgun, an air pistol and a hunting knife into East Chapel Hill High on April 24, 2006, and held civics teacher Lisa Kukla and sophomore Chelsea Slegal hostage in a classroom after school.
After more than an hour, school officials said, Kukla was able to talk Foster out of shooting her and Slegal. Barrett then fired a shot through a window and fled, police said.
After he went home, he told his mother what happened, and she drove him to University of North Carolina Hospitals for psychiatric observation, police said.
Foster has been wearing a GPS ankle bracelet since February as a condition of being released on bond. He previously spent several months undergoing a psychiatric examination at Dorothea Dix Hospital.
The teen lives in Raleigh and is barred from going to Durham or Orange counties while on probation. He also isn't permitted to have any firearms.
Authorities said they don't know why Foster took Kukla and Slegal hostage and that it appeared to be a random act.
Kukla and Slegal described their ordeal in detail during a hearing before Titus.
"I'm happy that it's it over. There is a sense of relief that this part is over," Kukla said.
Kukla said she had hoped Foster would see some jail time.
"You can come into a school, kidnap two people, terrorize them and not receive any real consequences for that?" Kukla said.
Although Slegal told the court she would also like jail time for Foster, she accepted the outcome.
"It was a little disappointing, but livable. It's life. I'm OK with it," Slegal said.
Slegal's mother, Sue Evans, said incidents like the Virigina Tech shooting bring up her family's horror again and again.