COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) – A judge on Wednesday set bond at $10,000 cash for a man accused of making online threats against black students and faculty at University of Missouri‘s Columbia campus.
Boone County Associate Judge Kimberly Shaw previously denied bond for 19-year-old Hunter M. Park. She agreed during a Wednesday court appearance to give him the opportunity to post bond and stay with his parents in their Lake St. Louis home.
Authorities say the threats showed up Nov. 10 on the anonymous location-based messaging app Yik Yak. A university police officer says Park, when confronted the next day in his Rolla college dorm room, admitted he wrote the postings.
The threats came amid turmoil at the University of Missouri as students protested the handling of racial issues and two top administrators stepped down.
Boone County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Brouck Jacobs, who argued against bond, said if Park is released from jail there’s no guarantee that he won’t be able to access the internet and make a threat that would “cause sheer panic.”
Park said nothing during the hearing, but dozens of family and friends, some holding tissue paper and written prayers, at one point stood to show support for him.
Defense attorney Jeff Hilbrenner had asked for bond to be set, saying his stay in the county jail made Park’s cystic fibrosis worse and that he doesn’t believe Park poses a threat. Hilbrenner said Park has withdrawn from college.
Police reports obtained by The Associated Press show University of Missouri police also responded in January when a female friend at the Columbia campus reported that Park told her he planned to buy a firearm to kill himself. Park at that time agreed to go to a psychiatric hospital and told police he had a history of depression, but said he did not intend to kill himself.
Police at the Rolla campus, according to reports, also said Park in October 2014 had been involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital after threatening to jump off a residence hall.
If Park is released on bond, he must stay in home detention under GPS monitoring. He would be banned from accessing the internet, and would need to immediately seek psychiatric treatment.
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