Bail denied: Jailed teen's team blames drug, immaturity
Patrick D. Crider, 18, the Western Albemarle High School student arrested January 14 for threatening to kill four of his classmates one day earlier, will remain in jail.
"I cannot find, Mr. Crider, you are a reasonable risk," said Judge William Barkley at a hearing Monday, January 25, in Albemarle General District Court. The defendant, a slight young man wearing jail stripes, sobbed when the judge announced his decision.
In issuing his ruling to deny bail, the judge cited Crider's present and past psychiatric issues, and the number of people on Facebook that Crider specifically identified and described how he would kill.
Psychiatrist Vanessa Camperlengo testified that while Crider had emotional issues, he was not a threat to himself or others. She suggested that his threat-making may have been the result of an incorrect dosage of Celexa, an antidepressant.
"I see it as a disturbing episode with Patrick at the bottom of an emotional pit," she said.
But apparently it wasn't the first time Crider had made threats. According to Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Darby Lowe, there was a prior fright-inducing incident on December 11. Then, Lowe said in court, Crider sent text messages and made phone calls to one of his fellow student victims, and the student felt threatened enough to call 911.
Legal analyst David Heilberg says Virginia legal code classifies threats according to the means of transmission. For instance, he says, a face-to-face threat may go unpunished while telephoned threats can be misdemeanors, but written threats–- including emails and text messages–- can be treated as felonies.
"That doesn't sound right," says Heilberg, "but that's the law."
Defense attorney David Franzen pointed out that Crider was recently evaluated at UVA Medical Center where experts concluded it was best for him to be released to his mother's custody. Upon his release from the hospital, he was arrested.
Based on evaluations at UVA and in jail, Franzen repeated his contention that Crider, with no history of violence or criminal record, poses no danger to himself or others.
"That's not to say the people in the courtroom who were subject to his threats should not be concerned," Franzen acknowledged. "We're dealing with a young man who was emotionally upset. He exercised immature judgment in that regard."
Crider will be back in court February 18 for a preliminary hearing on the charge of making threats of death or bodily injury, a Class 6 felony.