Lynchburg, VA - The North Carolina High School student who last month was expelled for bringing two guns to school and then offered a full scholarship to Liberty University has now apologized.
Cole Withrow admitted he did know he had the two shotguns in his truck when he went to school in a statement released Thursday. Withrow also apologized to law enforcement and school officials.
Withrow now is pleading guilty to misdemeanor gun charges instead of the felony charges he faced.
Prosecutors agreed with the plea. Withrow will also have to pay a fine.
He will be allow to graduate from an alternative school in the district.
Liberty University responded with this statement from spokesperson Johnnie Moore:
"Liberty University is pleased that the charges against Cole Withrow were reduced to a misdemeanor, but we still believe this is more punishment than he deserves."
This is Withrow's complete statement released Thursday:
"I, Cole Withrow, was not truthful to Principal Kirk Denning and Johnston County Sheriff's Officer Adam Davis in regards to my possession of two shotguns on the campus of Princeton High School on April 29, 2013. I did in fact know that the two shotguns were in my truck on school property. I did not mean to hurt anyone by my actions. I regret not removing the weapons from my truck.
I believe it is necessary for me to issue this statement to correct the misinformation that has been reported by the media. I understand this inaccurate information resulted in many agencies and individuals suffering significant harm. I should have stopped the inaccuracies, and I did not. As a result, I think it is imperative that I now take responsibility for my own actions.
I would like to apologize to Princeton High School Principal Kirk Denning, Johnston County Schools Superintendent Dr. Ed Croom and the Johnston County Board of Education. I recognize now that due to confidentiality laws, these individuals could not publicly respond to the inaccurate information despite the fact that they had evidence that proved my statements wrong. I am grateful that Dr. Croom modified the mandatory suspension to allow me to continue my studies, graduate and receive a diploma from the Johnston County School system. I will not pursue any appeal to the Johnston County Board of Education.
I would also like to apologize to the law enforcement, including Deputy Adam Davis, Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell and Johnston County District Attorney Susan Doyle for any stress or negative comments that have been posted because of the inaccurate information received. I understand these individuals were just doing the jobs they are there to do."
Liberty University Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Junior says the offer to give Withrow a full scholarship still stands.