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Thursday, June 13, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

D.A. Wants Terror Threat Conviction Reinstated

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (CN) - A prosecutor wants to appeal a state appellate court's release of a former Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville student who was accused of making a terrorist threat.

Olutosin Oduwole, 27, was released from prison last week after the Illinois Fifth District Appellate Court appeals court overturned his 2011 conviction.

Oduwole was arrested in 2007, a few months after the mass murders at Virginia Tech, after campus police found what they believed was a threatening note in his car.

The note said that a Virginia Tech-style shooting would occur unless $50,000 was deposited in a Pay Pal account.

Oduwole already was on police radar after a gun dealer reported that he seemed too eager to receive a shipment of guns he'd ordered.

Oduwole claimed he was an aspiring rapper and that the note was a song he was working on.

A Madison County jury found Oduwole guilty of making a terrorist threat and he was sentenced to 5 years in prison.

The appeals court overturned the conviction, finding insufficient evidence for the conviction because there was no proof that Oduwole planned to carry out the alleged threat.

But Madison County State's Attorney Thomas Gibbons isn't happy about the appeals court ruling. His office has asked Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to decide whether to appeal to the state Supreme Court.

"The jurors in this case ... found beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had taken substantial steps toward making a terrorist threat," Gibbons said in a statement.

"This case is a perfect example of everyone doing the right thing at the right time. If it hadn't been for the brave and decisive actions of a firearms dealer and numerous law enforcement officers and agencies, our community may also have suffered the devastation of a mass killing, like the horrors experienced by the victims and community at Virginia Tech. I'm hopeful that this case will proceed to the Supreme Court, where the jury's guilty verdict can be restored."

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