Barbiyeru pleads guilty to threatening California college
Vasiliy Barbiyeru Jr., the Newberg man arrested in April on allegations he made threatening contact with an area high school and a California college, pled guilty in federal court in August.
Barbiyeru appeared in U.S. District Court on Aug. 22 before Judge Michael Mosman, accompanied by his counsel, federal public defender Mark Ahlemeyer.
In an agreement worked out between Ahlemeyer and Assistant U.S. Attorney Hannah Horsley, Barbiyeru pled guilty to a single count of threatening interstate communication. The federal charge carries with it a possible maximum sentence of five years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release. He originally pled not guilty to the charge when appearing in court in July and requested a jury trial.
A much trimmer Barbiyeru, led into court in August by U.S. marshals in a grey striped jumpsuit emblazoned with "inmate" on the back and sporting bright orange socks and sandals, answered in the affirmative as Mosman checked off the stipulations of the plea agreement, including the elements and factual basis for the charges against him.
"Is that correct?" Mosman said. "Do you understand that?"
"Yes, your honor," Barbiyeru responded repeatedly.
By agreeing to a plea deal, Barbiyeru acknowledged that the prosecutor had sufficient evidence to prove that he "knowingly transmitted in interstate commerce an email containing a threat to injure multiple persons at Deep Springs College" and "the email was transmitted for the purpose of issuing a threat or with knowledge that the email would be viewed as a threat," according to the plea agreement.
The government's case is based primarily on the email that Barbiyeru sent on Oct. 7, 2017, after he was denied entry to the college in Big Pine, Calif.
"Your school is built on a lie," he wrote. "If you're not going to kill yourselves I will help do it for you. Call the cops, call the FBI. I'm ready to kill some college students. You think I'm concerned with my self-preservation? You seem to be forgetting the amount of (expletive deleted) I have left to give. You guys are the cancer killing this planet. You're only self-righteous (expletive deleted) looking out for yourselves. Even if I don't kill any one of you I will still bring your college the attention you apparently don't want. Your college is built on secrecy which is the secret joke that I'm going to destroy. … Read my essay that I sent to you under Vasiliy Barbiyeru's application. That's going to be the manifesto that news outlets will read while you're grieving for your dead students. … Read it again and sleep tight. It's going to happen."
Prosecutors said Barbiyeru had previously sent threatening emails to the college's president and other employees as well.
After Barbiyeru agreed to the plea deal, Mosman found the 24-year-old man guilty of the charge, ordered a pre-sentencing report and set sentencing for Nov. 18 in his court.
Prosecutors are recommending that Barbiyeru receive the low end of the sentencing range because he has accepted responsibility for his actions and because he, Ahlemeyer said, has been seeking mental health treatment since his arrest and has agreed to have no further contact with Deep Springs College.
Barbiyeru was arrested by Lake Oswego police on March 1 for allegedly threatening a shooting at Lake Oswego High School earlier that day in a call that led to the lock-down of the high school and several other buildings. He told a staff member during a rambling two-hour phone call that he liked school shootings and mass shootings, referenced guns, chemical weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, according to papers filed in court by the Department of Justice.
According to police, Barbiyeru told LOHS administrators that "I'm coming over now and it's not going to be good." He also allegedly claimed he had guns as well as other weapons.
Barbiyeru was charged with first-degree disorderly conduct in Clackamas County Circuit Court after his arrest by the LOPD, which discovered during forensic examination of his cell phone that he had also allegedly attempted to call McMinnville High School. The examination of his cell phone records also determined the man had researched both high schools as well as searched gun stores in the area, according to court papers.
An investigation by the FBI began in earnest March 27 when the federal agency became aware of multiple alleged threats made by Barbiyeru. The FBI worked in conjunction with police departments in Newberg and Lake Oswego.
It wasn't the first time Barbiyeru had run afoul of the law for threats made against educational institutions.
"I learned that officers from the Newberg-Dundee Police Department arrested Barbiyeru Jr., in June of 2018 after the president of Deep Springs College in California contacted the FBI regarding an online threat Barbiyeru Jr. had made toward his school," FBI Special Agent Daniel McLaughlin wrote in a probable cause affidavit filed April 1. "I learned that Barbiyeru Jr. posted to an online forum, threatening to conduct a school shooting at the college on Oct. 5, 2017."
McLaughlin continued in the affidavit that Barbiyeru was soon after contacted by FBI agents from the agency's Salem office.
"During that interview Barbiyeru Jr. told the FBI agents that 'people make jokes' in regards to his threatening online forum post. When asked if he had serious thoughts about harming other people, Barbiyeru Jr., stated that he wanted an attorney."
His interaction with federal law enforcement did little to curb Barbiyeru's desire to raise havoc, it appears.
"I learned that, on Oct. 7, 2017, just two days after speaking with FBI special agents, Barbiyeru Jr. sent a personally addressed threatening email from (his email address) to multiple staff members of Deep Springs College."
As he lived in Newberg at the time he sent the email, Barbiyeru was charged in June 2018 with second-degree disorderly conduct in Yamhill County Circuit Court, charges that were subsequently dismissed. The same charge in Clackamas County remains.
Barbiyeru was arrested by NDPD officers in late March for violating a court order barring him from contacting Deep Springs College, both via an email and also through a $100 online donation to the school on Jan. 2.
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