• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

ESPN child-death threat suspect pleads not guilty to weapon charge

Eric Yee, a 21-year-old former Yale University student, appears in court on an illegal weapons charge on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012.
October 16, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Valencia man accused of making death threats against children on an ESPN website pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a felony charge of possession of an illegal weapon.

Former Yale University student Eric Yee, 21, was charged with possessing an H&K M-94 assault weapon. He showed up to San Fernando Superior Court wearing a surgical mask. Yee's attorney, David Wallin, said he wore it because he has chickenpox.

Yee was arrested in September at his Valencia home for allegedly writing in an ESPN blog post that he was "watching kids and did not mind murdering them." Detectives said the man claimed it would be like the recent massacre in Aurora, Colo., that left 12 people dead.

Upon searching the home Yee shares with his parents, detectives found a gun. Prosecutors are still trying to determine whether to file charges against Yee for making terrorist threats. Yee's attorney said he believes there is no case to support a threat allegation.

"There has to be some specificity in the alleged victim," Wallin said. "Here he just said I am going to shoot kids and because there is no specificity you cannot have a criminal threat against just every kid in the United States."

Yee allegedly made the posting in response to an ESPN story Sept. 13 about some $279 Nike shoes named for basketball star LeBron James. Wallin said Yee was simply trying to give his social and political commentary on the price of the shoes and was paraphrasing from the movie "American Psycho."

Arroyo Seco Junior High School and Santa Clarita Elementary School are within minutes of the suspect's home. Both schools were locked down after sheriff's detectives learned about the alleged threat. Neither school was named in the blog.

Some parents in the area got together and filed a restraining order against Yee. A judge granted it, which orders him to stay away from schools in Hart and Saugus school districts.

Yee was free on $100,000 bail. He is due back in court Nov. 28. A date is scheduled to be set then for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to require them to proceed to trial.

City News Service contributed to this report.


Load Comments