Conspiracy Theory in Mississippi

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PEARL, Mississippi: Although every crime is planned, if only for a moment, the news that what appeared to be a solo killing spree in Pearl, Mississippi might actually be part of a broader conspiracy has shaken this small town, across the Pearl River from Jackson. Classmates were quick to note that many of the six teenagers, each now held on a $1 million bond, seemed normal enough. One of the six, Justin Sledge, provided some clues with a note from murder suspect Luke Woodham: "I am not insane. I am angry. I killed because people like me are mistreated every day. I did this to show society push us and we will push back." Another explanation might lie in the boredom of teen small-town life, says TIME Atlanta bureau chief Sylvester Monroe.

One thing that is still uncertain is whether the six were serious about their alleged plot, or if it was something they only idly talked about on the banks of the Pearl, never dreaming that one of them might carry out their plans.