, Salem, MA

Local News

May 14, 2014

Charter student admits bringing knife to school

SALEM — A Salem Community Charter School student who hurled expletives at a school official and then struggled with police after he was caught whittling a desk with a knife last month will spend six months in jail, a judge ordered yesterday.

Bjorn Nichols, 20, who lists addresses at 22 Proctor St. and at the Lifebridge Shelter in Salem, pleaded guilty to charges stemming from that incident and a series of others during a hearing in Salem District Court.

On the afternoon of April 14, Salem police were called to the school, which is housed in Museum Place Mall, after a staff member noticed wood shavings near Nichols’ desk and then saw a knife.

Prosecutor Alex Grimes said that when a school administrator approached, Nichols swore at her and yelled, “Get away,” while holding the knife.

He was even less cooperative with police, Grimes said, describing how Nichols flailed and struggled for some five minutes as police tried to arrest him. Officers later discovered two knives on Nichols.

It was only the most recent incident in a series that indicated that Nichols “has got a lot going on,” Judge Robert Brennan said.

On Oct. 26, around 9:30 p.m., Nichols walked into a home on Pratt Street and demanded a beer, leading to charges of trespassing and disorderly conduct.

On Jan. 19, he was arrested after trying to shoplift an $18 bottle of Delsym cough syrup from Walgreens on New Derby Street.

And while in custody at Ruane Judicial Center on Feb. 6, Nichols “head butted” a glass window in the holding area, damaging the pane.

Brennan said he would go along with the terms of a plea agreement reached between Grimes and defense attorney Paul Woods Jr., which called for a year in jail for Nichols, with six months to be served and the balance suspended for two years.

During that time, Nichols will be on supervised probation, with conditions that include a residential treatment program and counseling.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.

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