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Lawyer: U.S. teen had no warning of Finnish school shooter's plans

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: Lawyer: School shooter acted alone, without U.S. teen's encouragement
  • Shooter exchanged e-mail with U.S. teen who also planned spree
  • Pekka-Eric Auvinen killed 8 people before turning his gun on himself
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NORRISTOWN, Pennsylvania (CNN) -- A Pennsylvania teen jailed on suspicion of plotting a Columbine-style attack on his old school exchanged e-mail with the disturbed student who killed eight people in a similar shooting in Finland, the boy's lawyer said Monday.

An undated image shows Pekka-Eric Auvinen, who killed eight people and himself.

But J. David Farrell, the attorney for 14-year-old Dillon Cossey, said his client had no warning that Pekka-Eric Auvinen was preparing the rampage that left eight people dead at his high school outside Helsinki.

"We're certain the facts will show in the long run that Mr. Auvinen was acting completely on his own, without any encouragement from my client or anyone else for that matter," Farrell said.

He said the two had been in touch within two months of Cossey's October arrest in suburban Philadelphia, but he said Cossey was shocked by Auvinen's November 7 shootings at his high school in the Finnish town of Jokela.

"He's very saddened that someone he was in touch with committed a violent, deadly act," Farrell said.

Farrell said their correspondence "related to their shared interest in certain video games, Web sites and online videos."

"My client is very clear that there was no discussion by Mr. Auvinen of his intention to commit a criminal act," he said. "I believe that facts will show that Mr. Auvinen did not own a weapon until after my client was detained."

Cossey is awaiting trial in juvenile court on charges stemming from what prosecutors called a plot to attack his former school, Plymouth Whitemarsh, in the Philadelphia suburb of Plymouth Meeting. He could be held in juvenile detention until age 21 if found delinquent, but Farrell called that "a very unlikely prospect."

Bruce Castor, the district attorney for Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, said he has spoken to Farrell about the link to the Finland killings and will investigate the matter, but said he does not anticipate any further charges against Cossey as a result.

The Times of London reported Monday that Auvinen and Cossey met via the social-networking Web site MySpace, where members have set up two groups dedicated to the memory of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold -- the perpetrators of the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado.

The newspaper also reported that Auvinen had left postings on the MySpace pages.

Auvinen, 18, fatally shot three women and five boys before turning his gun on himself last week. Earlier, Detective Chief Superintendent Jan Nyhom of the Finnish National Bureau of Investigation said he could "neither confirm nor deny" a U.S. link to the killings. Video Watch a report on the potential links »

"We are going to look closely at all IT material, and we are following up all that is relevant to this situation," he said. "There are many things being reported in the media that are not true."

Students at a primary school near Auvinen's high school in Jokela, Finland, about 30 miles west of Helsinki, returned to classes Monday under the watchful eye of police. Older students met for classes at a nearby church, police said.

Cossey was charged with unlawful transfer of a firearm, possession of a firearm by a minor, corruption of a minor, endangering the welfare of a child and two counts of reckless endangerment after his arrest last month. Prosecutors said he planned to mount a Columbine-style assault on his former high school.

A search of the family's home in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, turned up the rifle, about 30 air-powered guns, swords, knives, grenades, a bomb-making book and videos of the Columbine attack.

His mother, 46-year-old Michele Cossey, has been charged with six counts of providing firearms and bomb-making equipment for her son.

Finnish police said Auvinen, who left a cryptic warning of his intentions on the video-sharing Web site YouTube, had written a suicide note two days before the shootings.

A statement released Monday on the Finnish police Web site said: "It was established that Pekka-Eric Auvinen, the suspect, had written the suicide note already on November 5, which also suggests the attack was planned well in advance."


A post-mortem examination on the suspect will be carried out Tuesday, although results of forensic toxicology tests are not expected for two weeks, the statement said.

It said more than 300 people had been interviewed in the pretrial investigation so far. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Julian Cummings and Jim Acosta contributed to this report.

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