Student Pleads Felony Harassment Down To Misdemeanor
Western student Yonathan Laine Noah, 21, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor harassment on July 6 in Whatcom County Superior Court.
The charge stemmed from an incident in 2016, in which Noah made threats to two Western students over Twitter and texts, according to a University Police report.
“2days until I pull the trigger #bangbang Christians and Vietnamese people,” the tweet read, according to the university police report.
The harassment charge, which was originally classified as a class C felony, was reduced to a gross misdemeanor by the court, according to information amended after Noah’s plea hearing.
The tweet was made after Student A, Student B and their friend Student C wrote and delivered a note to a separate individual, saying they overheard Noah talking about pouring paint thinner on his truck, according to a court-issued probable cause document.
Western Student A read the tweet and assumed it was directed toward her and her friend, Student B. According to a University Police report, Student A stated she at one point feared for her safety.
When University Police asked Noah about the paint thinner comments, he said it was a joke because the individual deeply cared for his vehicle, according to a University Police report.
Noah had also made threats to hack the social media accounts of Student A and Student B if they did not confess to writing the note warning of the paint thinner comments that Noah had made, according to a University Police report.
A call was also made from Noah to Student C at 3:35 pm on April 3, in which Student C recalled Noah saying something along the lines of “I don’t care how long it takes me, it might take me until I die, I don’t care if I have to kill them, I will get my confession,” according to the police report.
After learning of the incident and arrest, Western Residence Life and the Office of Student Life sanctioned Noah. He was required to relocate from his university residence, complete a full neuropsychological examination and serve a school suspension through fall quarter of 2016, according to Western readmission records.
Western also instituted a no-contact order banning Noah from all contact with Student A and Student B for the remainder of their time at Western, according to the court-issued no-contact order.
After the suspension was served and Noah completed the other items on the checklist, he would have been eligible for readmission to Western during winter quarter of 2017, as long as the administration approved his readmission application. Noah did not register for winter quarter of 2017, but was fully readmitted and registered for classes in spring quarter of 2017, according to an email from Michael Sledge obtained through public records request. Noah is also currently attending summer classes, according to the Registrar’s Office.
Noah has had two status hearings in the past year, the latest on June 28, in which he declined to speak about his case with reporters from The Western Front.
The judge also waived 334 days of jail time from the harassment charge of 364 days, according to a guilty plea sentencing document. This left Noah with a sentence of 30 days in Whatcom County Jail, with the option for alternatives.
Alternatives for jail time include out-of-custody work crew, work release and electronic home detention, according to the guilty plea sentencing document. Noah must also continue to follow his no-contact order with the victims.
Noah must make alternative sentencing arrangements before August 3, otherwise he must serve his time in the Whatcom County Jail, Superior Court Judge Charles Snyder said.
When asked if he had anything to say to the court, Noah responded, “I just want to apologize to the victims for feeling victimized, and if I knew that my rap lyrics would have gone this far I definitely wouldn’t have posted on social media.”
In 2016, Noah had said his original tweet was based on rap lyrics, according to university incident reports
Because Noah pleaded guilty to the crimes, the state attorneys were able to make recommendations for sentencing to the judge.
They recommended the dismissal of the cyberstalking charge, along with accepting the waived time for the harassment charge, according to the guilty plea sentencing document.