ELIZABETH, N.J. (AP) — A former leader of a black student group accused of tweeting anonymous threats against fellow black college students in New Jersey was denied a request to enter a diversionary probation program.
Kayla McKelvey, 25, is charged with creating a false public alarm at Kean University, where prosecutors said she tweeted anonymous threats from a campus library because she wanted more people to attend a November 2015 rally on racial issues. She then allegedly returned to the rally to tell people about the threats.
A judge on Thursday rejected an appeal from McKelvey to participate in pretrial intervention. The program would have allowed her to be placed on probation and have charges removed from her record if she successfully completed the terms.
Judge William Daniel, reading his decision from the bench, said McKelvey had given a statement to investigators in which she admitted sending the messages. “I went about it the wrong way,” the judge quoted McKelvey as saying.
The judge found McKelvey failed to prove that prosecutors engaged in a “gross use of discretion,” which is required to overturn their recommendation against pretrial intervention.
Prosecutors said the threats spread fear and panic on campus and $80,000 was spent for increased campus security and the investigation. Officials even alerted the Department of Homeland Security.
In seeking pretrial intervention, her lawyer had argued McKelvey was remorseful, had resigned from her job and had lost her friends.
NJ.com reported McKelvey declined to comment outside of court.
Attorney Thomas Mirigliano said no decision has been made on whether to appeal the ruling.
Prosecutors have offered to recommend that McKelvey, whom police previously identified as Kayla-Simone McKelvey, receive a six-month jail sentence if she pleads guilty to the charge.