Marshall Thomas, the former Matanzas High School student who was charged as an adult with gun theft and, separately, charged as an adult with the sexual assault of a Matanzas student at school in May 2022, was enrolled in a charter school in northern Wisconsin after posting $60,000 bond in Flagler County. Both cases are pending, with Thomas’s next scheduled pre-trial in Circuit Court in Bunnell on Oct. 11.
On learning of his pending charges, a parent in the Wisconsin district became concerned about Thomas’s attendance at the School of Options and Applied Research in Eagle River, Wis. Typically, a student facing that sort of charges in Flagler County would not have been allowed back on campus. Assuming he was out of jail, he would have been given remote, home-based education. It appears the district was not fully aware of Thomas’s pending cases before learning of them from press reports–at least not the full details available in the public court record.
“When I learned of the allegations against a student and reached out to the school for assurance that my child was being protected,” the concerned parent said in a text. “I was met with resistance and the need for the juvenile who was charged as an adult to have privacy protected; that his family was longstanding in the community and they had been working together for some time and there had been no further issues. When given the information he was on bond and that there had been a probable cause hearing regarding the allegations, there seemed to be some backpedaling and I was told the situation was still being looked into. I took it upon myself to find out the information that should have been presented to parents. If the district was going to take the stance he could attend, then there would have been no harm in preparing the families that would be having contact with him.”
The Northland Pines School District consists of about 1,300 students, a tenth the size of the Flagler district. Thomas, a resident of Brewster Lane in Palm Coast, was in juvenile detention on two occasions in Volusia and Duval counties before posting bond in April.
Scott Foster, the district administrator at the Northland Pines School District–a position similar to superintendent–said today he was aware of Thomas and articles about him in FlaglerLive, and cases about him, but could not comment on individual students’ status. “The focus is on safety and protection,” Foster said. “Obviously I do my due diligence and use all my resources” to ensure that safety. “People have rights, and that’s the balance I’m working through.”
Thomas, who just turned 17, first drew public attention in January when he was arrested along with a a boy who was 15 at the time after allegedly stealing two guns and over $1,000 in cash from his father in a plan to confront other teens at Holland Park. Thomas’s father alerted the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies’ presence at Holland Park convinced Thomas and the other boy to retrace their steps. Thomas told deputies that he had been protecting himself after receiving threatening messages from students at Matanzas High School. He had also texted threats to some of the juveniles. (See: “Dad’s Alert Over His Son’s Gun Thefts Leads to Arrest of Boys, 15 and 16, Before Confrontation.”)
The State Attorney’s Office dropped the second-degree felony charge of written threats to kill, but in mid-February filed three adult charges of grand theft, each a third-degree felony–at the same time that the State Attorney filed the adult charge of lewd or lascivious battery, a second degree felony. That had originally been filed as a juvenile charge in August 2022. The gun theft changed the State Attorney’s approach. (See: “Former Matanzas High Student, 16, Charged as Adult in Alleged Sex Assault of Girl During Class.”)
The molestation charge stemmed from an incident at Matanzas High School, during class, when Thomas was 15. Lights were turned off and students were watching a movie. Thomas was sitting next to a girl he’d flirted and held hands with, then allegedly became more aggressive with, against her consent, to the point of digitally penetrating her. There were no witnesses. The girl got away from Thomas with a friend’s help, to whom she disclosed the alleged incident. Thomas himself admitted to the assault in a controlled call recorded by law enforcement and in a subsequent interview with detectives.
Thomas’s lawyer unsuccessfully filed a motion to lower his bond, but bond was eventually posted on the original, $60,000 amount.
“I’m tired of the Northwoods covering for abusers,” the parent said, referring to the region of northern Wisconsin where the district is located. “The superintendent even said this family has been in the community for a long time. Well, I was born and raised here. The good ol’ boys club is alive and well. I know of individuals accused of these types of offenses, sexual offenses and they are not charged. They walk around the community because of who they know or the DA lives in the same town. This kid? Charged as an adult for sex offenses and gun charges and he can be in the school because his family has been here a long time? Sorry. Doesn’t sit well.”
Thomas has waived previous appearances at recent pre-trials, but been issued a notice to appear at the Oct. 11 pre-trial before Circuit Judge Terence Perkins at the Flagler County courthouse. Marshall is represented by Matt Maguire. Assistant State Attorney Tara Libby is prosecuting the case.
The day after this article published, Daniel Thomas, Marshall’s father, contacted FlaglerLive and threatened a reporter: “You’d better believe there’ll be repercussions,” he said, if something were to happen to his son–even as he alleged that his son had received death threats.