A Southern Illinois University student accused of writing a
note threatening a “murderous rampage” similar to the April one at
Virginia Tech may innocently have been mimicking what he’d seen on a cartoon, a
fraternity adviser of the suspect said.
Olutosin Oduwole, an aspiring rapper, was charged Tuesday
with attempting to make a terrorist threat in the note that police say was
found in his disabled car on the university’s Edwardsville campus July 20,
shortly before his arrest on unrelated computer fraud and felony theft charges.
About a week earlier, a gun dealer had notified federal
authorities that Oduwole seemed overly anxious to get weapons he had recently
ordered online, according to an affidavit filed in court by a police detective.
Investigators said the note demanded payment to a PayPal
account, threatening that “if this account doesn’t reach $50,000 in the
next 7 days then a murderous rampage similar to the VT shooting will occur at
another highly populated university. THIS IS NOT A JOKE!”
Oduwole’s friends and family have called the case a misunderstanding,
and Oduwole has pleaded not guilty. He remained jailed here Friday on $1.1
million bond, awaiting an Aug. 3 preliminary hearing.
Police say that note scrawled on a sheet of paper that
included rap lyrics made no direct reference to targeting SIU’s campus.
Jerrold Sharp, a fraternity adviser of Oduwole, said he
believes the note may have been inspired by a Cartoon Network episode of
“Robot Chicken” in which a gun was held to the head of a
clay-animation bunny, with the threat that the bunny would be shot if enough
money wasn’t raised.
“Like anybody who has really done music, you have your
notebook, you just write out all your ideas. He had an idea in print he got it
from another medium,” Sharp said. “It was an idea that was printed on
paper and that was it.”
Sharp, a 30-year-old fraternity adviser at the school to the
Iota Phi Theta fraternity in which Oduwole is the newly elected president, had
composed and sold rap lyrics when he attended the university. Sharp said he had
been mentoring Oduwole on how to make his mark in hip-hop.
Oduwole was making a compact disc, majoring in business to
better inform himself about the entertainment industry, Sharp said.
“He really wanted to get involved in the hip-hop
industry, but I wanted him to do it the right way,” Sharp said.
Oduwole’s attorney, Patricia Dennis, declined comment
A woman who has identified herself as his mother but
declined to give her name has said this week that Oduwole “liked to write
music, not to hurt anybody.”
When reached Thursday at the Olad Adult Day Program a
suburban St. Louis business Oduwole cited as his employer on a Facebook page
listed under his name the woman declined to speak with a reporter, deferring to
“Please help my son,” she said repeatedly,
Information from: Belleville
– Associated Press
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