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Sunday, May 19, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Threat of Killing Spree Nets Man Five Years

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (CN) - A former Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville student was sentenced to five years in prison for a note that threatened a Virginia Tech-like killing spree unless he was given $50,000.

Olutosin Oduwole, 26, claimed he was an aspiring rapper and that the note which campus police found in his car was rap lyrics, but Madison County Circuit Judge Richard Tognarelli didn't buy it.

Tognarelli agreed with the Madison County jury that convicted Oduwole in October. Tognarelli's sentence was tougher than the defense attorney's request for probation, but far less than the 15 years sought by the prosecution.

Tognarelli also sentenced Oduwole to 364 days and a $1,000 fine on a related conviction of having or storing a loaded pistol in his campus apartment, but ordered that time to be served concurrently, minus the time Oduwole already has spent in jail.

Oduwole was arrested in July 2007, just months after the Virginia Tech shootings that left 32 dead, including the gunman. He was arrested after campus police found the note in his abandoned car, which demanded payment to a PayPal account and stated: "if this account doesn't reach $50,000 in the next 7 days then a murderous rampage similar to the VT shooting will occur at another highly populated university. THIS IS NOT A JOKE!"

Federal agents already had their eye on Oduwole before the note was found, after being tipped off by a gun dealer. The gun dealer told the agents that Oduwole appeared overly anxious to get four semiautomatic weapons, including an Uzi-like Mac 10, that he had ordered, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

After his sentencing, Oduwole also pleaded guilty to felony charges of theft and computer fraud for an online sale of a gun he didn't have. He was sentenced to 2½ years of probation on that charge, which will be served with the prison time.

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