Former Yale Student Accused of Threats Just "Guilty of Felony Stupid," Defense Attorney Says - NBC Southern California

Former Yale Student Accused of Threats Just "Guilty of Felony Stupid," Defense Attorney Says

Eric Yee, 21, had his arraignment postponed till Oct. 16



    Former Yale Student Accused of Threats Just "Guilty of Felony Stupid," Defense Attorney Says
    Eric Yee, a 21-year-old Yale University dropout from Valencia, was arrested on suspicion of making criminal threats after allegedly posting on an ESPN website about killing children. He was charged only with illegal firearm possesion.

    THURSDAY UPDATE: Yee posted bond on Thursday afternoon and was no longer in police custody. The Sheriff's Department said it would have increased patrols at area schools Thursday and Friday.

    "Although the Sheriff Department does not feel we are in any danger, we will have an officer in the area for the next few days," wrong Santa Clarita Elementary School Principal Dianna Saunders in an email to parents.

    A former Yale University student who allegedly made online threats against children was on Wednesday ordered held on $100,000 bail on a charge of illegal weapon possession for a rifle his attorney said his client had never touched.

    Man Accused of Threatening Children ID'd

    [LA] Man Accused of Threatening Children ID'd
    A recent Yale graduate is in custody Tuesday after deputies say he allegedly posted on a sports-focused ESPN blog or chat room that he wouldn't mind killing children in a massacre similar to that in Aurora, Colorado. His Valencia home overlooks two schools. Gordon Tokumatsu reports from Valencia for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Sept. 18, 2012.
    (Published Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012)

    After allegedly making online comments on an ESPN website about killing children, Eric Ting Yee, 21, had been held on suspicion of felony making criminal threats. He was arrested by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in his parent's Valencia home Monday night.

    Yee's arraignment was postponed until Oct. 16 during a hearing at San Fernando Superior Court Wednesday afternoon.

    His defense attorney, David M. Wallin, told media Yee was "guilty of felony stupid for making ... remarks he should never have made," but not of criminal threats. 

    Man Arrested for Threats Against Children

    [LA] Man Arrested for Threats Against Children
    A Valencia man has been arrested after an investigation by Connecticut police. He's alleged to have made threats against children. NBC4's Antonio Castelan reports for Today in LA on Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2012.
    (Published Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012)

    Wallin said prosecutors "did the right thing" by not filing that charge, but contended that the weapon count was "arbitrary."

    In court, Wallin argued against a prosecutor's request for $1 million bail, saying Yee had never even touched the gun, which was found in Yee's family's home when deputies went to arrest the suspect.

    "The gun in question was brought by dad, who was a Northrop (Grumman) employee, about 27 years ago," Wallin said. "In that time, it's never been fired, it's never been touched."

    He said prosecutor's request of $1 million bail was needed to support the "big hoopla in the news" that the Sheriff's Department had made of Yee's arrest.

    Bail of $1 million is normally reserved for those suspected of murder or crimes that could result in life sentences.

    In court, Deputy Distric Attorney Ruby Arias argued that Yee was a flight risk. She read some of Yee's alleged online comments, which the court commissioner said were concerning.

    "'I know I am a psychopath and I have killed before,'" Arias said Yee had written. "'What is the big deal? … I would find it funny. It would be like the Aurora shootings in Colorado, which I personally loved."'

    Commisioner Martin R. Gladstein said the comments concerned him, but added that he didn't know if they were made as "a form of jest." He moved to reduce Yee's bail and set an arraignment date about four weeks away. 

    Yee's father, 62-year-old Roger Manfoo Yee, was also charged with illegal possession of a weapon -- an H&K M-94 assault weapon -- according  to the District Attorney's Office.

    Yee was arrested Monday night after Bristol, Conn.-based ESPN alerted police there to statements allegedly made by Yee on a sports-focused page operated by the network.

    ESPN reported threats were posted in a reader-response section to an online story about new Nike sneakers named after LeBron James that cost $270 a pair.

    Some of the nearly 3,000 reader comments on the story talked about children possibly getting killed over the expensive sneakers, said ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys.

    Bristol police traced the post to Yee, and Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department arrested him, finding several firearms in what appeared to be his parents' home in Santa Clarita.

    The residence was very close to two schools, and those campuses had increase security Tuesday as news of Yee's arrest spread.

    In a press release late Monday, the Sheriff's Department Santa Clarita Valley Station said then-unidentified Yee had posting comments on a blog in which he allegedly said he was "watching kids and did not mind murdering them."

    "The blogger mentioned that it would be like the Aurora, Colorado shooting," the press release said.

    Yale officials said Yee withdrew from the Ivy League university in May for undisclosed reasons. On a Yale website, Yee was listed as a member of the class of 2012 and a participant in a leadership training program. 

    Roger Manfoo Yee was not arrested and was not scheduled to appear in court Wednesday, officials said.

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