A 40-year-old former Soka University student was convicted Thursday of threatening a public relations director at the college.
David Kenneth Smith of Los Angeles was convicted of a felony count of criminal threats. Jurors deliberated Wednesday afternoon and through Thursday morning before reaching a verdict.
On Halloween, Smith sent an email to Soka media director Wendy Harder, who he used to work for as a student. His email commented on the campus cannabis policy when he attended classes there and whether anything had changed since marijuana was decriminalized in the state, according to a trial brief in the case filed by Deputy District Attorney Brett Brian.
When Harder responded “cordially,” the reply apparently angered Smith, who sent her a link to a YouTube video of him in an empty bathtub with a black, semi-automatic handgun on his bare chest “ranting for 20 minutes about his negative experience at Soka,” Brian said.
Below the link in the email, Smith wrote, “I may be coming for a campus visit soon,” Brian said.
Later, according to Brian, Smith sent a message to Harder, saying, “Keep this up. I have nothing to lose. Don’t admit that your school could have in any way harmed one of its students. Perhaps I will come back and finally put your little campus on the map. You better hope things start getting better for me before I make some examples that no one will forget.”
Investigators found 31 videos on the defendant’s account under the name “King David,” in which he commented on mass killings and shootings, Brian said. One of them was titled, “Who to Kill,” the prosecutor said.
Smith wondered, “If I were to go out on a shooting spree who should I kill,” in a video, according to the prosecutor.
Smith, who is scheduled to be sentenced June 1, faces up to three years in prison.
Smith had nine loaded guns when he was arrested, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.