During his appearance Monday in Athens County Municipal Court, Nickolaus Russell, a 19-year-old Ohio University student charged for making terroristic threats, waived his right to a pretrial, shotgunning him into the indictment process.
Traditionally, the pretrial phase of the judicial system allows the prosecution to bring forward evidence to back up an indictment.
Municipal Court Judge William Grim said Russell’s case will now move to the Athens County Common Pleas Court for the next stage in the judicial process.
The decision came after a deal between Athens County Assistant Prosecutor Glenn Jones and defense attorney William Eachus, Jones said. In exchange for waiving the preliminary hearing, the state would not up Russell’s already $15,000 bond.
Russell has been released from the Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail, according to the jail’s website.
Along with the multi-thousand dollar bond, Russell is still prohibited from stepping on OU property without being accompanied by an OU Police Department officer.
In addition to the judicial sanctions, Russell also received a presidential interim suspension from the university, Grim said. According to OU’s Student Code of Conduct, a student can be suspended “when the actions of a student threaten the good order and discipline of the university.”
Russell was arrested for allegedly making terroristic threats on an anonymous social media site Oct. 16, allegedly threatening to “kill a cop.”
Making terroristic threats is a third-degree felony with a maximum penalty of three years in prison.
Additionally, Russell was charged with drug abuse, a fifth-degree felony with a maximum penalty of 12 months in prison, for the possession of LSD, Grim said.
Those offenses may conflict with Russell’s participation in the city’s alcohol diversion program, Grim said.
Russell opted into the program after being arrested for an underage alcohol offense — a first-degree misdemeanor — on Sept. 27, according to court documents.
“If he is indicted in the meantime, he may be bounced from the program,” Grim said.
Grim said one of the provisions of the diversion program is that participants remain “upstanding citizens.”
During his arraignment for the misdemeanor, Russell pleaded not guilty. His trial was later set to coincide with the other two charges, according to court documents.
A first-degree misdemeanor comes with a maximum sentence of 180 days in jail, bringing Russell’s maximum possible incarceration up to about 4 and a half years.
As of press time, Russell’s next court date had not been set by the Athens Common Pleas Court.