Defense says Gaston Co. teen who threatened school violence has mental health problem, was bullied

A Gaston County student threatened mass violence at his high school, but police say they acted quickly, and were able to stop him before he could put his plan in action.

18-year-old North Gaston High senior Jacob Rhyne appeared by video arraignment Wednesday afternoon inside of a Gaston County courtroom. 

Police arrested the teen Monday after they say he made threats of mass violence towards students at the school.

"I really feel bad for the boy because he knew better, but it's sad because he's in a lot of trouble now," Wanda Trees told FOX 46. Her 17-year-old grandson attends the high school. 

RELATED: Gaston County teen charged with threatening school violence 

She says some days, she wishes she didn't have to send him to school out of fear that something could happen. 

"Sometimes I feel like I shouldn't send him, but I do, because he has to go to school." 

Investigators have now released more information on the nature of the threats Rhyne reportedly made. 

“They provided information the defendant gave at least six students that he desired to kill with the plans to come to class early and warn the group of students if he did so that they needed to run,” the prosecutor said in court. 

Rhyne's representation would not go into detail about what they believe happened, but told the judge Rhyne was a good student with no criminal record and was set to graduate in less than two weeks. 

However, they also said the teen suffered from a mental health condition and indicated that he was bullied in the past by the students in question.

“He’s gone to school on several occasions where he had been bullied at certain points and we think these may be students that have been part of that ongoing bullying in that time period but he has always gone to school officials to address those issues,” the defense said. 

While doing a search of Rhyne's car on school property, investigators found a knife and brass knuckles. 

The prosecution added police were convinced Rhyne had the capabilities to carry out the threats made, saying: "Law enforcement indicated that they believe he had the capacity to carry out this threat because of a relatively high level of intelligence and because of his apathetic demeanor of these charges after they came." 

After hearing both sides, the judge set Rhyne's bond at $500,000-- less than half of his initial bond.