Baker Co. teen charged as adult in school attack

By Scott Johnson, General assignment reporter, sjohnson@wjxt.com
Frank Powers, Assignment manager, fpowers@wjxt.com
Published On: Aug 06 2014 08:06:29 AM EDT
Updated On: Jun 17 2014 12:45:39 PM EDT

We're now hearing details of what happened at Baker County High School when a student showed up with multiple knives last month. Police reports show she planned to harm herself and possibly other students.

MACCLENNY, Fla. -

A 17-year-old student faced a judge Tuesday morning, charged as an adult after police said she put a knife to the throat of another girl in the cafeteria of Baker County High School last month.

Rheanna Hodges is charged with aggravated battery and aggravated assault.

The judge denied the defense's request to lower her $300,000 bond. Meanwhile, the state said Hodges was a risk to herself and others, and the judge said if that's the case he needed to hear more treatment options than the fact that she's on medication.

Rheanna Hodges (tall) In the offense report obtained by News4Jax on Monday, deputies said they learned that Hodges had written a suicide note the morning of May 13 before getting on the school bus carrying several knives (pictured below). Deputies said she began waving a knife around in the school's cafeteria about 7:15 a.m., then put it to the throat of another 17-year-old girl.

The victim told deputies Hodges grabbed her by the hair, pulled her head back and started screaming at people to be quiet. She said when she looked down, "There was a knife near my neck and I felt it."

Hodges told officials she’d been bullied at school and planned to hold the other girl at knife point, force the school resource officer to hand over his gun and then she would kill the girl and herself.

Baker County Sheriff Joey Dobson said several students and staff members helped prevent the situation from escalating.

Knives found in girl's backpack “They say it was handled very well,” Dobson said. “We had some without any question heroes. The students and teacher there took charge of the situation, along with the principal and school resource officer. What would have been a very dangerous situation had a quick ending and a safe ending for everyone.”

In another interview, Hodges said she also thought about hiding in the bathroom and “decapitating” random girls as they came in.

"It is unknown at this time how many people Rheanna planned to harm," an investigator wrote in the report.

Before teachers could respond to the attack, another student managed to get the knife away from Hodges, who the report lists as 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighing 205 pounds.

A paraprofessional among those walking Hodges to the office after the incident told deputies the girl went limp and she was asked if she was alright.

"No, I'm not okay," the report quotes Hodges. "I just tried to kill my best friend."

Deputies said Hodges has gone through a psychological evaluation since the attack.

The family of the girl who had the knife to her neck was in the courtroom with a victim's advocate representative for Tuesday's hearing. The victim's dad told the court the girls used to be friends but aren't anymore. He said they live less than a mile from each other, which he said made his family feel unsafe.

The judge agreed and said if and when Hodges is released, she would always have to be more than five miles away from the victim.

The day of the incident, Baker County Lt. Brad Dougherty praised a younger girl who stepped in to help break up the fight.

"For her, going in there and putting herself in harm's way, I would never recommend it, but it was a selfless thing for her to do," said Dougherty. "To go in there, seeing the knives -- four knives. It could have actually ended a lot worse than it did."

That girl was in the courtroom Tuesday, and she and other friends said they hope Hodges gets the treatment and counseling she needs.

Hodges' next court date is July 22.

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