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Trial begins for man accused of threatening football game crowd

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A trial got underway Monday for a Sissonville man who was arrested after he told a counselor he had thoughts of opening fire at a high school football game.

Shawn Foglesong, 40, was indicted by a Kanawha Grand Jury on a charge of making terrorist threats. But a defense attorney said the man committed no crime when he sought help at a psychiatric hospital and revealed his private thoughts. 

Defense attorney John Sullivan said, "The goal of his treatment was to resolve those issues. "He was not trying to scare anybody in the community. He was trying to get his own fears under control -- his deepest, darkest fears."

Foglesong was committed to Highland Hospital for treatment and after his release returned voluntarily to the hospital for more help, Sullivan said. In September, he was kept there two weeks after confiding homicidal and suicidal ideations.

Sullivan told the jury doctors did have a duty to report what Foglesong revealed to a therapist, but police went too far when they arrested him.

"He was acting in good faith," Sullivan said. "It was a success story. The kind of thing where a person goes home and tries to get their life together after a psychiatric hospital.

"But in Shawn's case, he ends up arrested and in front of a jury and surprised that it got this far," Sullivan said.

Assistant Prosecutor Michelle Drummond wants the jury to find Foglesong guilty of making those threats.

"He said he wanted to hurt someone up close and personal," Drummond told jurors. And that he was fearful of acting on those thoughts."

She said Foglesong expressed to counselor Jonathan Proctor that he thought about wearing a mask to a Sissonville High School football game, opening fire and drawing police fire to himself.

"He said he wanted to harm bad people," Drummond said. "And that one of those persons was a sexual predator."

Police posted Foglesong's picture in the community and alerted the school. His picture was hung inside the ticket booth. There was extra screening for weapons at the games.

All of it was overreaction, Sullivan said.

"It's going to be clear to you that any alarm in the community was leaked out by police and by the school," he said.

The trial is expected to continue Tuesday.

Foglesong has been held at South Central Regional Jail on a $125,000 bond since his arrest. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to a year in jail. 

Contact writer Cheryl Caswell at cherylc@dailymail.com or 304-348-4832.

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