BEL AIR, Md. (WJZ) — A judge granted 22-year-old Amara Leonard bail three days after prosecutors say she caused panic on the Harford Community College campus. The school closed Friday after police say Leonard threatened to set off bombs there.
Leonard only had to post 10 percent of the $20,000 bail. Court records show she was released from jail Monday.
The threat came from an email using her ex-boyfriend’s account.
Leonard turned herself in to the Harford County Detention Center on Saturday. She is charged with making a threat of mass violence, threat of arson, false statement and disturbing school operations.
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WJZ obtained charging documents and the email Leonard allegedly sent to a career advisor at the school.
It read in part: “All my life people have labeled me as nothing more than the ‘school shooter’ kid all because I’m into black heavy metal. Well, maybe it’s time I proved all of the accusations true. I am coming back to Harford with a couple of pipe bombs in tow. Maybe then when I teach all these [expletive] a lesson. they can all see my retribution and [expletive] pay.“
The email went out just before 10 p.m. Thursday. The official who got it did not read the message until 9 a.m. Friday, which then prompted police to evacuate the school.
Police said they never found anything “suspicious or concerning“ at the school. They had several K-9s search the campus.
— Mike Hellgren (@HellgrenWJZ) January 6, 2020
Officials ultimately determined Leonard’s ex-boyfriend — a former Harford student — did not send the threat.
He reportedly told police Leonard had been harassing him since their break up five months ago and had access to his email password.
Police found two IP addresses and traced the threatening email to Leonard’s home in Fairfax, Virginia, through her family’s cable and internet provider.
Leonard faces a maximum of 36 years in prison.
Harford County Judge Kerwin Miller, Sr., ordered her to have no contact with her ex and banned her from using a cell phone and a computer and from using social media accounts.
Prosecutors called Leonard a danger to the community and told the judge the threats were more than “just words.”
Leonard’s lawyer, Duke May, said she was being treated for mental illness and has Asperger Syndrome.
“The alleged acts … are only words and she is incapable of committing those acts,” he told the judge, describing the threat as simply a “lovers’ quarrel.”
Leonard reportedly tried to surrender to police in Fairfax, but officers told her parents to drive her to Bel Air.