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Student pleads guilty to having gun at school

An 18-year-old student who brought a loaded .38-caliber revolver to Central Medford High School pleaded guilty this afternoon to a single felony charge of possession of a firearm in a public building.

Jacob Semion Davis, who faced a possible six years in prison, entered a guilty plea and was given 30-days in jail and three years of supervised probation by Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Tim Barnack.

Barnack also ruled that Davis' misdemeanor charge of possession of a firearm would be dismissed. If Davis successfully completes his probation period, his felony conviction would be reduced to a misdemeanor, Barnack said.

Davis' father described his adopted son's troubled past at the teen's sentencing.

Derik Davis said he and his wife adopted Jacob Semion Davis and his younger brother from Russia eight years ago. He asked for leniency in the sentencing guidelines so that his son could remain eligible to join the military.

"Jake needs someone to talk to," he said. "Someone to kick him in the butt."

While attempting to defend the troubled adolescent, Derik Davis said his son had engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior at an early age and had been a straight-A student at St. Mary's school. But he closed by saying the teen had not lived at their home since he had attacked his father after being chastised for using "bad words."

"He beat me for 20 to 25 seconds," Derik Davis said, adding he did not retaliate.

The military would provide a structured environment, Davis said, and, if necessary, its own form of punishment — the brig.

"We don't want Jake to be a parasite on society anymore," Derik Davis said.

Police said Davis told them he'd found the gun and showed the stolen black Charter Arms revolver to other students in an attempt to sell it. He didn't threaten any students or teachers with the weapon, they said.

Jacob Davis said in court he brought the weapon to school only to return it to its original owner after being told by a friend he was staying with that the friend's father had a felony record and no weapons were allowed in the home.

"I panicked," he said. "I told (the police) a quick story. They brought me into a room and locked (the door). I didn't know what to say."

"I'm not buying some choirboy routine," Barnack said. "This is the scariest thing. School is supposed to be a safe haven."

The former South Medford High School campus on Oakdale Avenue hosts Central, a Medford School District alternative high school of more than 200 pupils, and two small programs for students with disabilities, called STEPS and STEPS Plus that are operated by the Southern Oregon Education Service District.

Some of Central's students have a history of disciplinary, emotional, drug or alcohol problems. Others attend because they are behind in school or simply prefer the smaller class sizes and accommodations for different learning styles.

— Sanne Specht