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  After 134 Days In Jail, Olsen Freed On Bond In Exchange For Guilty Plea On Charge Of Threatening Federal Law Enforcement Officer  
  Faces Sentencing Hearing On Apr. 14:   January 2, 2020 Edition  
     BY JOHN A. DARNELL JR.
      associate editor
      An 18-year-old who had been jailed since Aug. 7 on a charge of threatening a federal law enforcement officer was set free two days before Christmas in a plea agreement reached between federal prosecutors and his lawyer, Atty. J. Gerald Ingram, of Boardman.
      Justin Olsen, of 465 Presidential Ct., entered a plea of guilty to one count of threatening a federal law enforcement officer, and a second charge was dismissed in exchange for the guilty plea. Olsen initially pled not guilty.
      After spending 134 days in the Mahoning County Jail, Olsen was set free on a $20,000 recognizance bond and next faces a sentencing hearing in a Cleveland federal court on Apr. 14.
      Olsen, who graduated from Boardman High School last spring where he maintained a 3.8 gpa, turned 18-years-old on May 17. He first came to the attention of federal law enforcement officials in February, when FBI agents in Anchorage, Alaska learned someone on a website called iFunny was posting about mass shootings, and for example, making posts that included a picture of a man firing machine guns, that included a caption “Me walking into the nearest Planned Parenthood,” as well as a picture of an explosion with a caption “Me thanking God they put a gay bar next to a Planned Parenthood.” Another post said “shoot every federal agent on site.”
      Olsen was identified by federal law enforcement officials as the person who made the posts---and then mass shootings happened in El Paso Texas and Dayton, Ohio.
      Acting in union with the recommendation of Boardman Court Prosecutor Atty. Michael McBride, Olsen was arrested and jailed on two counts of telephone harassment. Those charges were later dropped in lieu of the federal charges.
      Olsen had no disciplinary record while attending Boardman High School, where he was a member of the school’s tennis team and instrumental music program. He also had no court record.
      Asked if his client had been “criminalized” after spending more than four months in jail, Atty. Ingram replied, “He has matured.”
      National Public Radio
      Olsen’s arrest was a topic on a National Public Radio (NPR) program that focused on his so-called ‘extremist views.’
      “Some told us [Olsen] said extremist and sometimes violent things at school,” NPR reported.
      An NPR reporter said a friend of Olsen’s was interviewed and claimed he couldn’t believe Justin was “posting all this stuff...while sitting there with his friends and classmates.”
      The friend claimed that in a Boardman High School class about human geography, students were asked to do a presentation about religion, and Olsen chose a topic on Islam.
      According to the NPR report, Olsen’s presentation included a caricature of the Islam prophet Muhammad (portrayed as a loser) and a caricature of Jesus Christ (portrayed as a “white jock with a strong chin and a big, bulging crotch.”).
      “Justin is laughing while doing this,” the NPR story claimed.
      NPR said it spoke with another student in the class, Sophia McGee, who said “I was covering my mouth because...it was just disgusting.”
      McGee told NPR she thought the teacher, identified as Kyle Sheehan, should have stopped Olsen’s presentation...“but the teacher just let it go...just sat there.”
      Another student, identified as Pranav Padmanabhan, told NPR that he and Olsen used to sit together at lunch.
      “Pranav remembers Justin had this Sicilian cross on his backpack, a symbol of the Crusades, which he says Justin was obsessed with. And, even though Pranav was openly gay, Justin was a homophobic and would say gay people are degenerates,” according to NPR reporter Garsd Garcia, who added when Pranav and other students heard Olsen talking about joining the military and killing people (like Muslims), “That was the one where we were like Justin, you can’t say that.”
      Pranav told NPR he didn’t take Olsen’s comments to teachers or school administrators, “something he now regrets.”
      NPR says that now in college, Pranav wrote a letter to Boardman High School Principal Cindy Fernback and Superintendent of Schools Tim Saxton.
      According to NPR, the letter says Pranav spent a lot of time with Olsen and “in hindsight, there were a lot of warning signs that seemed minor at the time, but could have helped prevent this, including him making offensive comments and troubling memes.”
      Garcia said that Principal Fernback responded to Pranav, saying she had been “reflecting” and noted the high school Resource Officer, a full-time policeman, “would explore how to deal with potential threats in the future, and attend an FBI seminar on how to recognize these threats.” Fernback, according to NPR, said she was “open to the idea of introducing the term ‘radicalization’ in the school” and stressed the importance of making sure students tell an adult when they see something that bothers them.”
      According to NPR, Boardman Local School System’s communications coordinator, Amy Radinovic, responded to concerns expressed by McGee and Padmanabhan.
      “Many class discussions covered controversial topics, and both ends of the political spectrum were represented. There were students who were as far left in their political and social views as one can be, labeled by more moderate students as ‘socialists.’ Conversely, there were students as far right as one can be, those who use the talking points of the far right religious conservative affiliation,” NPR says that Radinovic responded. She also noted that the School Resource Officer had already attended FBI training.
      Motion To Suppress
      In granting Justin Olsen’s release from jail, Magistrate George Limbert did not rule on defense counsel’s motion to suppress evidence seized from the home Oakridge Dr. home of Justin Olsen’s father, Eric.
      That motion, penned by Atty. Ingram and his law partner and son, Atty. Ryan Ingram, sought to have the evidence that was seized, including 25 guns and 10,000 rounds of ammunition, tossed out of court.
      “The search warrant was issued based upon information obtained during an illegal, ‘protective sweep’ of [Mr. Olsen’s] residence, and violated a constitutional prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures,” the motion to suppress said.
      On Aug. 7, law enforcement officials, including Boardman police and the FBI, executed a search warrant at Olsen’s mother’s home on Presidential Ct. where no weapons were located. While there, it was learned that Justin had recently moved to his father’s residence on Oakridge Dr.
      They immediately went to the father’s home and observed Justin Olsen exiting the home. He was placed under arrest without incident.
      According to Boardman Police Officer William Woods, Olsen agreed to speak with authorities, admitting he created a ‘Discord...page’ and he did post the comment about shooting federal agents.
      Olsen admitted making several posts, “but all of this was a joke, for fun, and the posts were on his ‘shit account,’” Officer Woods said.
      “He did not flee, resist or threaten officers and was otherwise polite and courteous,” Olsen’s counsel said. During his arrest, Olsen gave permission to law enforcement to search his car and bedroom. While in the home, law enforcement officials “observed ammunition, armored vests and a gun safe in the closet of Eric Olsen,” Attys. Ingram said, adding the teenager’s father, Eric, claimed that his son did not have access to the weaponry.
      “Not a single officer or agent appeared threatened, uneasy or in a state of concern. Their demeanor can only be characterized as lighthearted and jovial,” said the motion to suppress.
      In seeking to dismiss evidence, defense counsel said “in the instant case to pass constitutional scrutiny, the government must be able to articulate facts that would warrant a reasonably prudent officer to believe that the area to be swept harbored an individual posing a danger to those on the scene...
      “Accordingly, the subsequent search of Oakridge Dr. violated the prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures, as set for in the Fourth Amendment of the constitution,” defense counsel for Olsen alleged.
      According to court documents, the prosecution countered Atty. Ingram’s assertions, saying “Immediately upon entering the house, law enforcement observed, in plain view, a large amount of .223 caliber ammunition on the stairs leading up to the second floor bedrooms... “Based on the potential of firearms in the house, and their uncertainty about who could be in the home, they decided to conduct a
      protective sweep of the residence for officer safety.”
      A charge of threatening a federal law enforcement official carries a maximum penalty of up to ten years in jail.
     
 
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