Target of Lathrop bomb says teens deserve prison time

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LATHROP, Mo. -- The dad of the alleged target of a bomb says the teens accused of planting the bomb deserve prison time.

This happened one day after two 18-year-old men appeared in court, charged with placing the bomb on the boy's porch. In fact, the classmates from Lathrop face felonies for the crude bomb.

Richard Sharp owns the residence involved in that incident on April 14. He says his son's schoolmates set off an explosive device on his porch as a prank, and his family narrowly escaped injury.

"I heard a boom," Sharp said. "It sounded like a gunshot."

Sharp says it was nearly 9 p.m. when the doorbell rang, and just before he and his four-year-old son could answer it, the bomb exploded. When Lathrop Police officers arrived, they recognized the crude explosive as 'a Draino- bomb.'

Sharp says no one was hurt, but his family was afraid for their lives.

"(The police officers) said we were lucky that they didn't make it any bigger and put gunpowder in it," Sharp said.

One week later, on April 19, police arrested two 18-year-old students, Josh Leibrandt and Caleb McKnight. The two Lathrop High School seniors were charged with two felonies, including negligent burning and second degree assault. Both men entered a not-guilty plea in Clinton County court on Tuesday.

If convicted, they could be sentenced to as much as 10 years behind jail bars.

"It was placed so that when I opened the door, it would blow up on me or someone else," Sharp said.

Sharp says Leibrandt and McKnight are schoolmates with his 15-year-old son, Austin. Court documents quote Leibrandt as saying he and McKnight don't like Austin, so they targeted  his house.

"Maybe there's some jealousy or resentment," Sharp said. "I'm not sure, but it was an intent to do something."

McKnight and Leibrandt are due back in court on May 21.

They both entered a plea of not guilty Tuesday before Judge Paul Luckenbill in Plattsburg.

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