Ruling coming for probation request in false threats case

A woman who tweeted out threats against fellow black college students to drum up support for a rally on racial issues could get probation.

Kayla-Simone McKelvey, 24, of Union Township, speaks with defense lawyer Thomas Ashley during her first appearance at the Union County Jail courtroom in Elizabeth, N.J., Monday, Dec. 14, 2015. McKelvey pleaded not guilty Monday to making false threats against fellow blacks at the university she previously attended. (Andrew Miller/NJ Advance Media via AP, Pool)

ELIZABETH, N.J. (AP) — A decision on whether a woman accused of tweeting anonymous threats against fellow black college students will be entered into a probation program will come next week, a New Jersey judge said.

Defense attorney Thomas Ashley told an Elizabeth judge Friday that his client, Kayla-Simone McKelvey, has already resigned from her job and lost her friends, NJ.com reported.

“She has suffered in every way imaginable … She stands before you embarrassed, and to some extent a pariah in some communities,” Ashley said.

He said strong feelings for the rally led his client to have a lapse in judgment.

Ashley is trying to place McKelvey into a pre-trial intervention program that would allow her to be placed on probation. Charges against her could then be removed from her record.

McKelvey has been charged with creating a false public alarm at Kean University.

She tweeted anonymous threats from a campus library because she wanted more people to attend a November rally on racial issues, Union County prosecutors have said. She then allegedly returned to the rally to raise awareness about the threats.

McKelvey, a former leader of a black student organization, carefully planned the threats, Assistant Prosecutor David Schneider said Friday.

“These messages caused the campus of Kean University to be in a state of fear and panic for three days. People were afraid to walk on the campus,” Schneider said.

The university increased campus security. Several law enforcement agencies were also alerted, including the federal Department of Homeland Security.

Prosecutors previously rejected McKelvey’s bid to enter a pre-trial intervention program, which is available to first time offenders.

Ashley is appealing that decision. An announcement on the ruling will be made Thursday, Judge William Daniel said.

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