Man Suspected of Threatening Kids Free on Bail

Unrest, Conflicts and WarESPNChickenpoxBristol (Hartford, Connecticut)

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (KTLA) -- A Valencia man accused of making death threats against children on ESPN's website appeared in court on Tuesday.

Eric Ting Yee, 21, is suffering from chicken pox and wore a surgical mask in the courtroom.

He is facing a weapons charge for having unregistered firearms.

Yee's bail was reduced to $100,000, even though prosecutors had argued that the nature of the threats warranted $2 million bail.

His lawyer says the district attorney doesn't have a case regarding the online threats because Yee did not specifically identify victims.

He was arrested at his home in the 23000 block of Edenton Place in Santa Clarita.

Yee is suspected of going on ESPN's website and posting that he was watching children and wouldn't mind killing them.

The comments were made in a reader response section to a story about new Nike sneakers named after LeBron James that cost $270 a pair, ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys said.

Some of the nearly 3,000 reader comments on the story talked about children possibly getting killed over the sneakers because of how expensive they are.

But Yee allegedly talked about shooting kids in a manner like the one in Auora, Colo., where 12 people were killed and 58 were injured in July, authorities said.

An employee at ESPN headquarters in Bristol Conn., notified local police the same day and they were able to link the posting to the man's home in Santa Clarita.

Yee currently lives with his parents on a street that overlooks Santa Clarita Elementary and Arroyo Seco Junior High, said Los Angeles County sheriff's Lt. Steve Low.

Police said that several unregistered weapons were found at the home.

Yee's father, Roger Manfoo Yee, 62, is also facing weapons charges. He has not been arrested and did not appear in court.

A lawyer for Eric Yee says it's all a misunderstanding, and his client didn't ever intend to hurt the kids.

"He never intended to hurt anybody... never thought of it as a threatening statement," Yee's lawyer David Wallin said. "He's guilty of felony stupid, but he's not guilty of criminal threats," he added.

Wallin said that Yee was simply trying to give his commentary on the price of the shoes and was quoting the movie "American Psycho."

Yee is described by the Associated Press as a former economics major at Yale who "withdrew from school in May of this year for undisclosed reasons" and moved back home to live with his parents.

Yee's Facebook profile says he attended Valencia High School as a teenager. And at Yale, he apparently became a member of the school's prestigious Leadership Institute.

There is no indication at this point that there were any other suspects involved, police said.

Investigators were not aware of any additional threats or concerns regarding any schools.

Deputies planned to increase patrols around local schools, and School Resource Deputies were working with school administrators to address concerns.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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