Man in Virginia Tech E-Mail Case Ordered Freed
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
A Nevada man who sent e-mail threats to two former Virginia Tech students a year after the massacre at the university was ordered to be released from jail yesterday when a federal judge in Roanoke decided he had served enough jail time during the 15 months he was waiting for his case to conclude.
Johnmarlo Balasta Napa, 28, pleaded guilty in April to one count of sending an e-mail threat.
Napa had been held without bond since being arrest in April 2008, when authorities discovered that he sent threatening e-mails on the eve of the massacre anniversary -- the date Seung Hui Cho killed 32 people and himself on the Virginia Tech campus.
U.S. District Judge James C. Turk also sentenced Napa to three years of supervised release, with special conditions, including mental health treatment. At the hearing yesterday, Napa tearfully apologized to the victims, their families, his family and friends for his "sins," prosecutors said.
Investigators say Napa idolized Cho and bought the same weapons Cho used in the shootings. On the anniversary, Napa stayed home to watch the news coverage, laughing at the victims and appearing sympathetic to Cho, authorities said.
The threatening e-mails, sent from email@example.com, had included photographs of Cho depicted as a hero, parodies of the victims and a picture of Cho holding paper dolls with photos of the two students and those of the people killed. They also had excerpts of the manifesto Cho sent to a TV network before his shootings.
His public defender, Fay Spence, previously said that Napa did not intend to threaten the women and that he had received a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia. Spence said Napa was discharged from the Air Force in 2003 because of the diagnosis.
During his guilty plea, Napa told the judge that he sent the e-mails because he "had concerns about violence in school shootings." He said he tried to alert authorities about parodies of the massacre on the Internet.
The two women who received Napa's e-mails used to attend Virginia Tech and were stalked by Cho before the shootings, authorities said. They had reported Cho to a resident adviser after Cho sent them unwanted e-mails and repeatedly called one of them.