A Kent State University student accused of posting on Twitter that he would be “shooting up” the Ohio campus won’t face a felony after a grand jury decided to indict him on a less serious charge.
William Koberna, a 19-year-old sophomore, was arraigned Friday on a misdemeanor charge of telecommunications harassment, which carries a maximum sentence of six months in jail.
Authorities had charged him with inducing panic, but a grand jury on Thursday decided against indicting him on that felony.
School officials suspended the student, and he was ordered by a judge to stay away from the campus and the university’s president.
Koberna was arrested nearly a week ago at his parents’ home in Brunswick after university officials contacted police about the tweet.
Kent State officials say the profanity-laced message sent July 25 included a threat that he would be “shooting up” the school.
Court records show that a public defender was appointed for Koberna. A message seeking comment was left Friday with the public defender’s office in Portage County. Public records do not list a phone number for Koberna.
He was released from jail after posting bond.
Koberna, a computer science major, is studying at the school’s College of Arts and Sciences. He was living off campus and wasn’t taking summer classes.
University officials say an employee was monitoring social media mentions of the school in Northeast Ohio when the tweet was discovered.
A Kent State spokesman said the university can’t ignore any threat to the school after shootings at other schools, including at a nearby high school where three students were killed and three others were injured in February.
Kent State was the scene of deadly gunfire in May 1970, when Ohio National Guardsmen opened fire during an anti-war demonstration. Four students were killed and nine others were wounded.