USM student arrested for threats

Published 6:18 pm Thursday, April 19, 2007

University of Southern Mississippi student Charles Wanwright was being held Thursday on charges of posting threats on the Internet.

Wanwright, 25, of Purvis, was arrested Wednesday in Lamar County, campus officials said, after a faculty member reported to university police that the student had made threats through MySpace, a popular online networking site that allows users to communicate by way of pictures, e-mail, an instant messenger service, bulletins and blog entries.

Posting threats on the Internet is a felony under state statute punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

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Wanwright is being held in the Forrest County Jail. An initial court appearance is pending.

The nature of the threats wasn’t released Wednesday. University Police Chief Bob Hopkins said it’s too early in the investigation to release specifics.

Before acting on reports of a threat, Hopkins said, investigators must determine whether the threat is credible — and part of that is determining whether the accused has the ability to carry out the threats.

The arrest took place in Lamar County, Hopkins said, in an effort to avoid disruption on campus.


Information from: Hattiesburg American, and The Sun Herald,