MICHELE COSSEY felt sorry for her only son, Dillon.
The pudgy, home-schooled teen was a "social outcast" - a super-smart misfit obsessed with guns and violence who was picked on by peers, authorities said.
Like most moms, Cossey just wanted to see her son happy.
But instead of taking him to a video arcade or buying him an Xbox, she fed his fixation with weaponry, police said.
Cossey was arrested yesterday on charges of illegally buying her son three guns: A Ruger .22 handgun, a single-shot .22 rifle and a 9 mm semiautomatic rifle with a laser scope to improve accuracy when shooting.
The love between mother and son was apparent yesterday morning. During Dillon's detention hearing in Norristown, she wept for her boy, an expression of anguish fixed on her face. As he was led away in shackles, Dillon turned to her and mouthed, "I love you." His father sat stone-faced beside his wife.
Police confiscated one of the three guns - the 9 mm rifle - from the Cosseys' Plymouth Meeting home.
Michele Cossey told police she purchased the 9 mm rifle for her son on Sept. 23 at the Valley Forge Gun Show in King of Prussia, court records show.
The two other guns, purchased by Cossey in 2005 when Dillon was about 12, were "stored" at the home of a family friend, John Diamond. Diamond met with Plymouth Township police on Thursday and turned over the Ruger and .22 rifle.
Diamond told police he believed that the guns were in Michele Cossey's name, but actually belonged to Dillon, the police criminal complaint says.
Prosecutors declined to provide details about Diamond or discuss how he knew the Cossey family. He was not charged with any crime, they said.
Though Michele Cossey allegedly helped her son amass his dream arsenal, she did not buy him any ammunition, police said.
She did, however, supply him with gun powder, which he used to fill at least three "live" grenades, said Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr.
In all, police found seven grenades, including three stashed in a duffel bag inside the family's home.
Seemingly - perhaps unbelievably - Michelle Cossey knew nothing about her 14-year-old son's alleged "Columbine-style" plot to execute teens who had ridiculed him at Plymouth-Whitemarsh High School, Castor said.
"I don't think she had anything to do with planning this attack, but by virtue of her indulgence, she enabled him to get into this position," Castor said. "This is not the best parenting I've ever seen, obviously, and she needs to be held accountable."
Cossey's attorney, Tim Woodward, said he hadn't had time to investigate the charges against his client and couldn't comment on their merits. Cossey is facing three third-degree felony charges that carry up to seven years in prison.
When pressed by reporters about his thoughts on parents' buying guns for a kid, Woodward replied, "I'm the wrong guy to talk to about guns. . . . I would outlaw every gun, quite frankly."
Meanwhile, Dillon's attorney, J. David Farrell, stressed that all but one of the weapons prosecutors put on display were pellet guns and air rifles - legal for minors to possess. He also pointed out that it's legal in Pennsylvania for juveniles to fire weapons under adult supervision.
"They're showing 30 guns on a desk that appear to be handguns and saying this was a Columbine in the making," Farrell said. "That's simply not borne out by the facts.
"I do not believe the students at Plymouth-Whitemarsh were ever in any real harm," Farrell said.
The matronly mom and her baby-faced teen hardly looked like threats to society at back-to-back court appearances yesterday morning.
Wearing a robin's-egg blue dress with flowers, Michele Cossey shuffled in and out of court using a walker. She suffers from diabetes and poor circulation. Because of her poor health, she was released on a $50,000 unsecured bail after an 11:30 a.m. preliminary arraignment in District Court in Conshohocken.
At a separate hearing earlier that morning, a Common Pleas judge ordered Dillon held at a juvenile-detention facility after determining the teen was a risk to himself and others.
Police arrested Dillon Wednesday and charged him with solicitation to commit terror and a slew of other terror-related offenses.
Typically, juvenile proceedings are closed to the public. Dillon's detention hearing was open because under Pennsylvania law an exception is made if the teen is 14 or older and charged with a felony.
Castor said he is still considering whether to file a motion arguing Dillon should be tried as an adult.
The judge also ordered Dillon to undergo psychological evaluations and tests to determine his intelligence level.
Castor described Dillon as a highly intelligent, "extremely emotionally disturbed" teen.
During a search of Dillon's home, police discovered 30 air and BB guns, grenades, knives, swords, videos of the Columbine shooting, Neo-Nazi reading materials and diaries in which the teen detailed violent acts. Most of the weaponry was in plain view in his bedroom, Castor said.
Inexplicibly, Dillon's parents seemed hell-bent on buying their son guns.
Michele Cossey bought the Ruger handgun and .22 rifle on May 27, 2005. Less than a month later, on June 22, 2005, Frank E. Cossey tried to buy a .22 rifle for his son at Dick's Sporting Goods in Plymouth Township. The gun was a gift for his son's birthday, he said.
But he lied on the gun application and got caught. He checked off on the application that he didn't have a criminal record. In fact, Frank Cossey had pleaded guilty to manslaughter in a fatal DUI collision in Oklahoma City in 1981 and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
He is currently serving a 9-month house-arrest sentence for lying on the gun application. Prosecutors said they agreed to allow him to attend the court proceedings for his wife and son yesterday morning.
The 54-year-old father has not been charged with any crime in connection with his son's alleged massacre scheme.
Said Castor: "Other than bad parenting, I don't see any evidence of criminal conduct on behalf of the father." *