Man denies making threat to commit shooting at UMass

By EMILY CUTTS

@ecutts_HG

Published: 05-23-2017 9:45 PM

NORTHAMPTON — A Newbury man who had a charge of making a bomb threat dropped in a lower court has now been charged with threatening to commit a shooting.

Geoffrey Small, 23, pleaded not guilty in Hampshire Superior Court Tuesday afternoon to two counts of threatening to commit a shooting.

The charges stem from an incident in January when a roommate allegedly overheard Small on the phone yelling that the University of Massachusetts Amherst needed to be “shot up.” Small was a senior studying chemical engineering.

Small was released on personal recognizance. Previously, conditions of release had included that he stay out of Hampshire County.

When he was arraigned Jan. 24 in Eastern Hampshire District Court, Small’s attorney, Michael Gillis, argued that, based on evidence presented, Small had not committed a crime.

He said Small had not threatened a specific person, but rather was talking to himself when he made the alleged threatening statement.

“He flipped out at his phone,” Gillis said. “His choice of words was not good.”

The case was dismissed on May 10 by Judge Patricia Poehler. A grand jury passed up the superior court indictment on May 9.

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In the decision to dismiss, Poehler wrote the statement of facts presented as evidence was “misleading and inconsistent” with additional police reports.

Poehler also ruled that the facts presented failed to meet the element of the charge that “requires a threat ‘to use or have present’ a weapon.”

“This fact would have been obvious to the Clerk-Magistrate if he had been given an accurate statement of the incident,” Poehler wrote. “Because there is insufficient probable cause to support the crime charged, the complaint must be dismissed.”

Emily Cutts can be reached at ecutts@gazettenet.com.

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