Woman who made Twitter threats against Kean University students sentenced
A former Kean University student responsible for threatening Twitter posts targeting black students at the University last fall has been sentenced to 90 days in Union County Jail, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Friday.
State Superior Court Judge Robert J. Mega additionally ordered 25-year-old Kayla McKelvey of Union Township to serve five years of probation, pay $82,328 in restitution, serve 100 hours in the Union County Sheriff’s Office SLAP (Sheriff’s Labor Assistance Program) work detail, and undergo anger management and counseling.
In April, McKelvey had pleaded guilty to a single count of third-degree creating a false public alarm.
An intensive joint investigation by the Union County Prosecutor’s Office’s Special Prosecutions Unit and the Kean University Police Department revealed that McKelvey, a self-proclaimed activist, participated in an on-campus student rally regarding racial issues held on the evening of Tuesday, November 17, 2015, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Shawn Barnes, who prosecuted the case. McKelvey left the rally midway through, however, and headed to a computer station located in a nearby University library, Barnes said.
Once there, McKelvey created an anonymous Twitter account and began posting racially charged threats of violence. One such tweet, which was specifically addressed to the Twitter account of the Kean University Police Department, read “@kupolice I will kill all the blacks tonight, tomorrow and any other day if they go to Kean University.”
After making the posts, the investigation revealed, McKelvey immediately returned to the rally and attempted to spread awareness of the threats she had just fabricated. The investigation further revealed that there was never any actual plan to harm students.
Barnes read the threatening tweets into the record prior to sentencing and also described the incident’s aftermath, which saw up to 75 percent of students fail to attend classes for multiple days and tens of thousands of dollars in police overtime and additional security costs incurred by the University and law enforcement.