School threat suspect denied bail
By The Daily Progress Staff
Published: January 25, 2010
An 18-year-old Western Albemarle High School student accused of threatening to kill four students was denied bond this morning in Albemarle County General District Court.
Patrick Dittmar Crider has been held in Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail on a charge of threatening to kill or harm someone on school property in connection with threats made against fellow students on Facebook. Dr. Vanessa Camperlengo, a psychiatrist specializing in children and adolescents, testified today that she didn’t believe Crider was a threat to himself or others.
According to court documents, someone believed to be Crider had an online conversation Jan. 13 during which threats were made to kill four specific students the following day. After the shootings, the person intended to declare his love for a girl and shoot himself in the head, the records state.
Camperlengo said in court that she believes Crider has adjustment disorder, and that he reacted emotionally after a stressful event. Crider had been taking the antidepressant Celexa on and off, Camperlengo testified, and he reported side effects such as feeling “speeded up” that may have affected his behavior.
When asked about the Facebook messages, Camperlengo said Crider was in a specific state of mind.
“I see that as an stirring excerpt from Patrick at the bottom of an emotional abyss, but that is not where he lives,” Camperlengo testified.
Darby Lowe, deputy commonwealth’s attorney, said in court that police had been called previously when the same victims reported feeling threatened by Crider. That report came Dec. 11.
Lowe argued that Crider shouldn’t be granted bond.
“If there is a misjudgment on the part of his psychiatrist, there are lives that could be taken,” Lowe said in court.
David B. Franzen, Crider’s attorney, said in court that his client has no criminal record or history of violence. Franzen argued that his client had a lot of support from family and friends and could be supervised constantly.
“[He] made an immature judgment,” Franzen said in court. “Whether or not that in fact was a crime has yet to be determined.”
Crider is scheduled to have a preliminary hearing Feb. 18.
Read the full story in Tuesday’s Daily Progress.