Seneca High senior fined $300 in threatening case that started with Instagram video

A Seneca High School senior’s decision to post an Instagram video featuring what turned out to be a BB gun led authorities to investigate and charge him.

He was charged with the first degree misdemeanor of uttering terrorist threats and four counts of first degree misdemeanor for having a BB gun, box cutter, knife and sword in the trunk of his car in the school parking lot months after posting the video.

The Student’s cooperation, remorse, and lack of intent contributed to the prosecution’s decision to allow the Student to end his case by pleading guilty to a summary count of disorderly conduct and to a fine of $300.

The case against the student, Cameron M. Stubenhofer, 18, was resolved Tuesday before Greene Township District Judge Susan Strohmeyer.

Charges filed: Seneca High student faces weapons, threatening charges after video released, car searched

Stubenhofer waived his preliminary investigation and pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in an agreement between the Erie County prosecutor’s office and the defense. All other charges were dropped.

Strohmeyer could have jailed Stubenhofer for up to 90 days for his summary conviction. She refused to incarcerate him, but fined him up to $300, plus costs. Stubenhofer owes a total of $468.25, according to court records.

Student about to graduate, which DA says influenced the deal

The prosecutor, Chief Assistant District Attorney Gregory Reichart, said the plea deal was born out of Stubenhofer’s immediate and full cooperation with police, his remorse over the incident and his lack of intent. harm anyone at school. Reichart said Stubenhofer’s commitment to complete his final year online and graduate also influenced the plea deal.

Graduation is Friday for Seneca High School, which has 413 students, in the Wattsburg area school district.

Reichart said the district attorney’s office is clearing charges on allegations of school threats with a willingness to assess the seriousness of the threats as cases move through the courts.

“We have to solve this problem,” Reichart said of the threats at school.

Stubenhofer’s attorney, Gary Kern, an assistant public defender, declined to comment.

Wattsburg Area School District superintendent Ken Berlin said the district followed all of its procedures to handle the incident and cooperated with state police.

“I am confident that the authorities and the district attorney’s office acted in the best interests of the school and our students,” Berlin said Tuesday.

Berlin was not in court on Tuesday. He said Seneca manager Keith Miller was present. The district attorney’s office consulted with the district, Reichart said.

The caption of the video read: “I’m ready for school tomorrow”

The case against Stubenhofer began in January, when classmates urged him to delete a video he posted on Instagram that featured a black gun and the caption “I’m ready for school tomorrow.” according to state police. Police said the weapon in the video was a BB gun.

On March 23, a parent of another student saw the video and alerted school district administration, state police said. Police said an Erie County deputy sheriff and Miller, the principal, searched Stubenhofer’s car in the school parking lot on March 23 and found the BB gun, a box cutter, a knife and a sword in the trunk of the car.

State police charged Stubenhofer on April 5 with four counts of first-degree misdemeanor for possession of a weapon on school property and one first-degree count of threatening terrorism, linked to the video. The school district said Stubenhofer also faced student discipline.

The filing of the criminal charges came as Erie County school officials were on high alert for possible gun threats.

Days after state police charged Stubenhofer, Erie police rushed to Erie High School on March 29 to investigate a shooting report that turned out to be a hoax.

On alert: Police were sent to Erie High over a false report of a school shooting as pranks hit other schools in Pennsylvania

Authorities said similar fake shootings were reported at schools in Pennsylvania on March 29, including schools in Meadville, leading to closures and a heavy police response.

Contact Ed Palattella at epalattella@timesnews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ETNpalattella.

This article originally appeared on Erie Times-News: Seneca High senior fined $300 in threatening case that started on Instagram

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