Published January 13, 2015
It was stupid to threaten U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, but the Louisiana State University student arrested for doing so never meant to act against the presidential candidate, his attorney says.
Richard Ryan Wargo, 19, of Shreveport, is out on $100,000 bond, as part of which he must have his mental health evaluated and get therapy if that is recommended, attorney Frank Holthaus said Monday.
He described Wargo as a peaceful person, and not a loner or dangerous.
"In this day and age, you have to be much more careful about what comes out of your mouth," Holthaus said. "Over time people will see this for what it was."
He said Wargo was released to his parents' custody Monday, after they posted two $50,000 bonds, one cash and one property.
District Judge Mike Erwin reduced the bond from the $1 million he had set Thursday, when Wargo was booked terrorism, communicating false information of planned arson, and possession of both marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
Along with the evaluation, he said Wargo must be supervised by Capitol City Probation, submit to random urinalysis, follow a 9 p.m. curfew and — when not a full-time student — live with his parents.
Wargo was arrested after a classmate told LSU Police that he had twice talked about killing Clinton, D-N.Y., and asked if the classmate were interested in helping. When the classmate learned Clinton was to speak at a convention Saturday in Baton Rouge, he told police about Wargo's threats, LSU Police Chief Rickey Adams said Friday.
According to the arrest warrant, Wargo asked the classmate if he wanted to participate in terrorism that would be a "national event" and involve Clinton.
It alleges that when the classmate asked Wargo whether such an attack would only make Clinton more popular, Wargo replied: "True, but have you ever heard of a dead president?"
Holthaus said the comments were viewed as much more dangerous because of the shootings last month in which 32 died at Virginia Tech.
"In the old days, if we didn't have Virginia Tech and if Hillary Clinton was not actually in Baton Rouge at the time, people might have been able to see this otherwise," Holthaus said. "These aren't the old days."
Terrorizing carries up to 15 years in prison and a $15,000 fine, and communicating false information of a planned arson carries up to 20 years in prison.