Former SIUE student on trial in Madison County for alleged terrorist threats; Defense attorney says client is rap artist
A 26-year-old man is being tried in Madison County Circuit Judge Richard Tognarelli's courtroom for allegedly making terrorist threats and illegally possessing weapons.
Opening arguments started Wednesday in a case against Olutosin O. Oduwole, a former SIU-Edwardsville student charged with threatening to go on a shooting rampage on campus in 2007.
Oduwole allegedly had a piece of paper that said "send $2 to pay pal account 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!"
He also allegedly had a .25 caliber Jennings handgun in a public building at 418-1C Cougar Village, SIU-Edwardsville without permission from campus police. He also allegedly had ammunition on campus and had ordered more guns, including three Hi-Point .380 caliber guns and a Mac 10, .45 caliber semi-automatic firearm.
Oduwole, who was wearing a yellow and blue Tommy Hilfiger sweater, sat silently in the courtroom as prosecutor Jim Buckley compared the alleged incident to the shootings four years ago at Virginia Tech.
In 2000, the defendant bought his first firearm, a .25 Jennings, Buckley said.
The Virginia Tech incident occurred April 16, 2007. Oduwole's alleged crime took place between July 1-20, 2007, according to court records.
Buckley detailed the history of the Virginia Tech shooting. He said Seung-Hui Cho had a Glock and killed 30 people on the campus as they were doing "what students and faculty are supposed to do."
Buckley said police heard about a weapons purchase. Police had also found Oduwole's somewhat abandoned vehicle, which they tried to tow, and when they opened it, they found live ammunition rounds. Police obtained a search warrant to the apartment.
"The defendant made an attempt to make a terrorist threat. He had a firearm in his room without permission," he said.
Justin Kuehn, the defense attorney, said Oduwole is not a school shooter.
"He's a rap artist," said Kuehn, and then explained that the defendant uses offensive language and sings about violence.
Oduwole had taken his girlfriend to St. Louis and ran out of gas and walked home before police found the abandoned vehicle.
"This is a song," Kuehn said.
"The center point of the case is a song," he explained. He said his client had attended Catholic boarding school and was the president of his fraternity.
"He liked guns. He liked the Mack 10 the most. It's a semi-automatic weapon."
Kuehn said his client has a compulsion.
"He's always writing."
The case is Madison County Case No. 07-CF-1648.