UCI Prof Pleads Not Guilty in Alleged Murder Plot

Rainer Klaus Reinscheid allegedly plotted to kill school officials, then commit suicide, according to the Orange County District Attorney's office

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    Rainer Klaus Reinscheid, 48, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on Wednesday. He is accused of setting fires and threatening to kill students at University High School in Irvine. Vikki Vargas reports from Newport Beach for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on August 15, 2012.

    An associate professor at the University of California at Irvine pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges he allegedly tried to burn down his son's high school as part of a plot to kill students and administrators.

    Rainer Klaus Reinscheid, 48, was arraigned Wednesday morning in Newport Beach. He is being held without bail and his next court date was scheduled for Sept. 6.

    The Orange County District Attorney's Office had opposed bail for Reinscheid, citing emails he allegedly wrote detailing his plans after his teen son committed suicide.

    "We don't believe these are just rantings or musings of an anguished father. The fact that he acted out on these threats and committed nine different acts of arson show these weren't the musings of an anguished person," Deputy District Attorney Andrew Katz said. "The people's position is that he potentially is quite dangerous."

    Arraignment Postponed for UCI Prof Jailed in School Murder Plot

    [LA] Arraignment Postponed for UCI Prof Jailed in School Murder Plot
    Rainer Klaus Reinscheid, 48, of Irvine, has been charged with arson and is accused of plotting to kill students and staff from University High in Irvine. Reinschied, apparently distraught after his son's suicide after being discplined at the school, hatched the plan in March, authorities say. Conan Nolan reports from Irvine for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on July 31, 2012.

    A statement issued by the Irvine Unified School District -- which runs University High School, where Reinscheid's son attended and against which the father allegedly plotted -- said the school system was happy with the outcome of Wednesday's hearing.

    "Suffice to say, we are pleased to learn that the lone suspect in this serious criminal investigation will remain behind bars pending resolution of his case," the statement said.

    Full Statement: "A Message From IUSD Superintendent Terry Walker and Uni Principal John Pehrson"

    Reinscheid faces nine arson-related felony charges and a misdemeanor count of resisting or obstructing an officer, according to the Orange County District Attorney's office.

    In March, the educator's 14-year-old son committed suicide in Mason Park Preserve in Irvine. The teen was a student at University High and had been disciplined for stealing by school officials, according to prosecutors.

    Between July 4 and 24, Reinscheid allegedly set five arson fires: three on the University High School campus, one at Mason Park Preserve, and one at a school administrator's home.
     
    During the investigation, police obtained emails allegedly sent by the suspect to his wife in April, "describing in detail his plan to burn down University High School, commit sexual assaults, purchase firearms and murder school officials and students, and then kill himself," according to the OCDA.

    Prosecutors said the subject line of one of his emails was "a good plan." They compared his emails to those sent by mass killers.

    In court Wednesday, prosecutors told the judge that Reinscheid used the Internet to research guns, gun law and how to make a fertilizer bomb similar to the one used by Timothy McVey in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

    Ron Cordova, Reinscheid's attorney, has described his client as an "anguished soul," saying the emails were "a therapeutic exercise."

    Reinscheid has worked at UCI for 10 years and was an associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences. He requested a leave of absence from the school in July.

    Correction: An earlier version of this story reported that Reinscheid faces six arson-related charges. The correct number of arson-related charges is nine. The story has since been updated.

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