By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – A former Oxford High School student charged last fall with two counts related to a threatened attack on the school pleaded not guilty in federal district court Wednesday.
Joshua Brandon Pillault of 106 Combs, Oxford, attended his arraignment in shackles and handcuffs, wearing an orange jail uniform. He is charged with making threats, while playing an online game under the pseudonym “Paul Gilbert,” to injure people and to kill people and destroy property with plans to “level” Oxford High School and a promise that OHS is “gonna be gravel.”
According to the transcript of the confrontational online chat he had with another player, “Gilbert” threatened to use guns “[p]lus backup clips, moplotov (sic) cocktails, pipe bombs” in his attack.
Prosecutors claim Pillault’s alleged plan was to take place on the anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre, which he allegedly lauded repeatedly during the online taunting.
The Columbine killings occurred in April 1999.
Investigators said that both an apparent player of the same game in Virginia and a representative of the gaming company in England called Oxford Police Department to report the threats, and the gaming company provided a transcript of the chat. The pseudonym was traced to an IP address issued to the defendant’s mother.
An affidavit by FBI Special Agent Daniel Blount said the defendant attended Oxford High but did not graduate.
“He … was well known to the school resource officer, Harper Thomas,” Blount wrote.
If he’s convicted on all charges, he faces up to 15 years in federal prison and $500,000 in fines.
U.S. Magistrate S. Allan Alexander accepted the not-guilty plea from defense attorney LeRoy D. Percy of Oxford and scheduled trial for Feb. 25, with Chief Judge Michael P. Mills presiding.