Koberna bail set at $50,000; pleads not guilty


William Koberna was arraigned at the Portage County Municipal Court on Monday, July 30 after the Kent State sophomore allegedly made a threat of a shooting at Kent State. The threat was allegedly made via Twitter Wednesday, July 25, and Koberna was arrested Sunday. Photo by Jenna Watson.

Drew Parker

William Koberna, the Kent State student accused of making Twitter threats to “shoot up” the university, is free after posting a bond for 10% of $50,000, after his arraignment this afternoon in Portage County Municipal Court.

  • Listen to audio from Koberna’s arraignment hearing.
  • View documents related to the Koberna charges from the Portage County Clerk of Courts.

Koberna pleaded not guilty to charges of inducing panic and aggravated menacing after allegedly posting a tweet that contained profanity, President Lester Lefton’s name, and the shooting threat against the university, according to Eric Mansfield, the executive director of media relations for the university.

The 19-year-old computer science major appeared this afternoon before Judge Mark Fankhauser in Portage County Municipal Court and is charged with inducing panic and aggravated menacing. The court set a bail of $50,000 for the two counts. Koberna’s father Robert posted a bond of 10%, or $5,000, allowing Koberna to be released.

The conditions of the bond forbid Koberna from having contact with President Lester Lefton, make him a persona non grata at Kent State, meaning he cannot be on campus and require him to wear a GPS tracker at all times to verify his location.

During the hearing Koberna asked for a court-appointed attorney. While Fankhauser read the charges against Koberna, Koberna made several protests of his innocence.

Koberna’s parents, Karen and Robert, arrived late at the hearing because it was moved to an earlier time. Fankhauser told the court he changed the time of Koberna’s hearing to clear the media out of the courtroom earlier in day, and explained the charges again for Koberna’s parents.

Koberna appeared on the screen wearing a neon-orange and white striped jail unifom. During the hearing he frequently shook his head from side to side and appeared shocked at the judge’s comments on the case.

Koberna is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing at 9 a.m. Friday before Judge Barbara Oswick in the Kent Courtroom of the Portage County Municipal Court.

Koberna, a former Kent resident, was arrested late Sunday afternoon at his parents’ home in Brunswick after allegedly making the threats.

The tweet that led to the arrest was posted in public view on Wednesday, July 25; it was noticed by an unidentified Kent State employee Friday evening, at which time Kent State University police were notified.

The Kent State officers contacted Twitter to determine the owner of the account, then interviewed Koberna Saturday evening.

Charges were filed Sunday and Koberna was arrested without incident at his parents’ home in Brunswick that afternoon.

Koberna will face university hearings that could result in his suspension or dismissal.

“Any threat to our campus community is taken seriously and immediately investigated,” said Kent State University President Lester Lefton in a university press release. “Our students, employees, and all those who come to campus should know that their safety is our top priority.”

KentWired.com will continue to follow the story as it develops.

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 5:58 p.m. Monday, July 30 and edited to clarify the difference between Koberna’s bail amount and the bond money paid by his parents.