Cornell Student Pleads Guilty to Death Threats Made to Jews


A 21-year-old Cornell student who threatened to kill Jewish students on campus pleaded guilty at a Syracuse courthouse on Wednesday.

Patrick Dai was arrested in late October after posting threatening messages to the Cornell section of an online discussion forum, including a post that said “gonna shoot up 104 West,” a campus dining hall that caters predominantly to Kosher-observant students.

In another post, Dai allegedly threatened to “stab” and “slit the throat” of any Jewish males he sees on campus, to rape and throw off a cliff any Jewish females, and to behead any Jewish babies. In that same post, he threatened to “bring an assault rifle to campus and shoot all you pig Jews.”

During the trial, Lisa Peebles, the attorney for Dai, contended that her client aimed to “expose Hamas as evil” rather than issue real threats. She argued that Dai’s autism, which is well-documented, might have influenced his unlawful behavior. Despite his academic success, Peebles claimed that Dai functions with the mental capacity of a five- to ten-year-old, which affects his ability to manage everyday tasks such as laundry. She also revealed that Dai had been prescribed Zoloft while in detention to address depression, which she believes stems from his inability to fully comprehend his mental state.

As part of the plea deal with the prosecution, Dai pleaded guilty to one felony for his October threats. Dai will be sentenced on Aug. 12, where he faces a maximum of five years in prison or a $250,000 fine.

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