October 2, 2014

Medina
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Tweet threat nets lesser charge

KENT — A Portage County grand jury declined to bring felony charges against a 19-year-old Brunswick man accused of posting a Twitter message saying he would be “shooting up” Kent State University.

The grand jury did indict William Koberna on a charge of telecommunications harassment — a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Koberna

Koberna initially was charged with inducing panic, a fifth-degree felony, and aggravated menacing, a first-degree misdemeanor, when arrested Sunday afternoon at his parent’s home on Pennys Drive in Brunswick.

Had he been convicted of the felony, Koberna faced a maximum punishment of a year in jail and a $2,500 fine.

In addition to facing greater penalties, those convicted of felonies are barred from many occupations and professions.

Neither Koberna nor his parents could be reached for comment.

Koberna was arraigned on the lesser charges Friday in Portage County Municipal Court. He has been free since Tuesday after posting a $50,000, 10 percent, bond.

The case was presented to the grand jury Thursday, according to a news release from the Portage County Prosecutor’s Office.

“The result was a return of a ‘no bill’ or no indictment on any felony charges,” the release said.

County Prosecutor Victor Vigluicci could not be reached for comment.

A spokeswoman for Kent State University declined to comment.

University officials said earlier that investigators concluded Koberna did not have access to weapons, after his interrogation and interviews with his parents and people close to him.

No weapons or search of the house was mentioned in the Brunswick police report of the arrest.

Koberna, a sophomore computer science major, lived in off-campus housing during the spring semester, but moved home to Brunswick over the summer, university officials said.

The university suspended Koberna on Tuesday, pending the outcome of the criminal case.

He already was barred from campus as a condition of his bond.

Municipal Judge Mark Frankhauser also required Koberna to wear a GPS tracking device and ordered him to have no contact with Kent State President Lester A. Lefton, who specifically was threatened in the tweet.

Koberna’s 17-word Twitter message ended with “I’m shooting up your school” and signed “# A$AP,” according to a police report.

All but three words of the rest of the message were profanities.

University officials said an employee monitoring social media noted the tweet July 27 — two days after it was posted — and police were called in.

The case has drawn national attention coming so soon after the July 19 mass shooting in a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., that left 12 people dead and 58 wounded.

Contact Jennifer Pignolet at (330) 721-4063 or jpignolet@medina-gazette.com.