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Two teens sentenced in high school rifle threat

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CANTON — The two teenagers who caused a lockdown at Colton-Pierrepont Central School in March by displaying a rifle from a car window were sentenced Monday in St. Lawrence County Court.

Sawyer M. Pignona, 17, of 96 Postwood Road, Hannawa Falls, and Connor I. Warden, 17, of 19 Sisson St., Potsdam, were sentenced to one year of interim probation for criminal possession of a weapon on school grounds, a class E felony. Mr. Pignona also was charged with second-degree menacing, a class A misdemeanor. Both pleaded guilty to the charges after an agreement reached July 9 between their attorneys, school officials and District Attorney Nicole M. Duve.

Mr. Warden told state police that he drove Mr. Pignona to Colton-Pierrepont about 3:50 p.m. March 18. Once there, Mr. Pignona brandished the weapon from a car window, sending the school into lockdown.

On Monday, County Judge Jerome J. Richards told the teens that their one-year term would include community service in the form of a 25- to 30-minute presentation to be given at all consenting school s in St. Lawrence County. That is reduced from the one hour agreed upon in the plea deal.

The presentation is expected to include a discussion of the incident, the consequences, impact on others and the community, role of social media and lessons learned. For every school district that chooses not to participate, 25 hours of community service will be imposed, with priority to be given to the Colton community.

Both teens, who are students at Potsdam High School, also have a no-contact order of protection against them requiring them not to come within 1,000 feet of Colton-Pierrepont Central School unless given specific instructions stating otherwise from Colton-Pierrepont Superintendent Joseph A. Kardash.

If Mr. Pignona and Mr. Warden successfully complete their interim probation, they will have their felony pleas vacated in exchange for a misdemeanor and a sentence of three years’ probation. Mr. Pignona still will have his misdemeanor menacing charge against him.

Because of their age, they also may be considered for youthful offender status at the discretion of the court.

Final sentencing has been scheduled for Sept. 15, 2014.

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