A Wisconsin man's Facebook threat to bring a gun onto North Central College's campus and shoot anyone who crossed him was not determined to be protected free speech.
A DuPage County jury deliberated for about 90 minutes Thursday before finding Aden Khan, 23, guilty of disorderly conduct.
Khan, who has been free on $50,000 bail, was immediately taken into custody. His next court date is scheduled for March 10. Judge George Bakalis also ordered a mental evaluation. Khan now faces probation or between one to three years in prison.
Prosecutors alleged Khan, who was never a student at North Central, created a Facebook page called "North Central Confessions," which became a popular site for students to anonymously gripe about the health center, transportation and other campus issues. While not affiliated with the college, the site was also watched by college staff.
Kimberly Sluis, the college's vice president for student affairs and dean of students, testified Wednesday that she checked the site at least twice daily.
In early March 2013 Khan posted "I bring a gun to school every day. Someday someone is going to ... end up in a bag."
Sluis said she contacted campus security officials and Naperville police within minutes of being made aware of the post. A brief investigation led them to Khan's Madison, WI. apartment.
Khan's attorney, Stephen Richards argued that Khan has a 'dark, twisted sense of humor" and had posted the threat as a joke. During Thursday's closing arguments, Richards restated Khan was not aware of why anyone would be threatened by the seemingly anonymous post on a "garbage website." He did, however, say he's glad Khan was tracked down.
"I cannot say I'm in deep regret that my client is sitting in the chair he is now. He certainly needs something upside his head. Maybe this will be his wake-up call," Richards told jurors. "He may be liable morally, ethically, maybe civilly, but he's not guilty of the crime he is charged with."
Assistant State's Attorney Rob Willis said Khan's wake-up call came in California in November 2010 when he narrowly avoided criminal charges after posting "a top 10 people I most want to kill" list on Facebook. Included in the list were Khan's stepmother, father, brother, the pope, God and some school officials.
"His wake-up call was in California. He missed his chance" Willis said. "In the defendant's world he imagines he can post whatever he wants on Facebook and not have those words be considered by anyone. That doesn't make sense.
"You don't get to say those words and laugh it off because you have a dark, twisted sense of humor. Those words have meaning."