Rushville teen facing felony charges over prank

Tyell Morton, 18, is facing felony charges over the prank.

RUSHVILLE - A high school senior accused in a senior prank faced a judge Thursday.

The planned prank blew up in the face of 18-year-old Rushville High school Senior Tyell Morton, who is jailed and facing serious criminal charges.

"It's not right. It was a senior prank. They're blowing it out of proportion. I didn't hurt anybody, I didn't intend to embarrass anybody. What did I do wrong, you know?" Morton said Thursday.

Morton was arrested Tuesday after school surveillance cameras captured a picture of a man dressed in a hooded sweatshirt and wearing latex gloves, concealing a package and leaving without it. Believing it contained explosives, the school was evacuated and the Indiana State Police bomb squad was called in. It turns out that the package contained a blow-up doll placed in the girls' restroom. Police say that Morton admitted putting it there as a prank.

He's now charged with felony criminal mischief for a hoax that the teen's family says doesn't rise to the level of criminal charges.

"I don't think a criminal who murders gets that kind of a deal," said family member Valana Morton.

"This is an overreaction," said another family member, Kim Morton.

School officials say that the prank cost them over $8,000 and prosecutors don't see the humor.

"In this post-Columbine world, that's what you get when these kinds of things happen," said Rush County Prosecutor Phil Caviness.

Facing up to eight years in prison if convicted, Morton will also miss his high school graduation and isn't allowed on school property.

"A senior prank, get put in jail? I hate to see what they put you in jail for nowadays, you know?" Morton said.

Morton, who has never been in trouble with the law is now wondering how a prank went wrong. His bond has been set at $30,000.