(Reuters) - A white 19-year-old Missouri man on Monday pleaded guilty to a felony charge of making terrorist threats to shoot black people on the campus of a state university, his attorney and prosecutors said.
Conner Stottlemyre, one of three Missouri men arrested in November on charges of making threats on social media about shooting people on college campuses, pleaded guilty under a deal with the Nodaway County prosecuting attorney. He will serve 30 days in jail and then be on probation for five years, said his attorney, Robert Sundell, and Nodaway County Prosecuting Attorney Robert Rice.
Stottlemyre was arrested by campus police at Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, where he is a student, for threatening violence on that campus. He was arrested days after the president of the University of Missouri resigned amid protests over his handling of reports of racial abuse on campus.
A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for Feb. 22 at which the judge will decide whether to accept the plea deal, Sundell and Rice said. In the interim, Stottlemyre, who appeared in Nodaway County Circuit Court in Maryville, remains free on $10,000 bond.
Rice said the deal was fair, given Stottlemyre had no prior criminal record and was a good student.
"It's a stiff punishment," Rice said. "What I believe was, in this situation, he got together with some buddies and on a dare made comments that I'm pretty sure he's wishing he could take back. He didn't ever intend to actually do anything, but unfortunately when you make comments on a public forum like that there are going to be consequences."
No felony conviction will appear on Stottlemyre's record if he successfully completes the probation, said Sundell, who declined to make a statement for the teenager.
Stottlemyre, of Blue Springs, Missouri, was charged with one felony and one misdemeanor for allegedly making threats against blacks using the social media messaging app Yik Yak. The misdemeanor charge was dropped under the plea deal, Rice said.
According to a criminal complaint, Stottlemyre posted a threat saying: "I'm gonna shoot any black ppl tomorrow so be ready," and "I love evil, I can't wait for Northwest to make the news tomorrow."
Under the plea deal, Stottlemyre also cannot set foot on any campus of Northwest Missouri State or enter Nodaway County, Rice said.
(Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing by Andrew Hay and Dan Grebler)