UTICA – After a brief appearance in Utica City Court, the case against 23-year-old Fahrudin Omerovic will move to Oneida County Court after the defendant waived his right to a preliminary hearing.
Omerovic is charged with felony making a terroristic threat after he allegedly made four threatening phone calls against Utica College on Monday, March 5 and Tuesday, March 6. The school was on lockdown March 5 with a heavy police presence as law enforcement searched and then evacuated the school to “safe zones,” all while Omerovic was on campus and even in one of those safe zones.
Omerovic, who quietly spoke a few words to the judge and his lawyer in court on Monday, appeared uneasy but not as emotional as previous court appearances.
Omerovic waived his right to a preliminary hearing, which means the Oneida County district attorney now has 45 days to present the case to an Oneida County grand jury. They will hear the evidence and decide if the current four charges of making a terroristic threat will stand.
In court on Monday, Omerovic’s defense attorney again asked to have his client’s bail lowered from the $100,000 originally set. The defense claimed Omerovic is not a threat to the community, but Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara says the bigger risk they’re looking at is flight.
"I’ve seen somebody leave the country immediately after they posted $5,000 cash before,” McNamara said. “My understanding is that there's a lot of people that he knows that are outside of New York State.”
"I could tell you that Fahrudin was on full academic scholarship at Utica College based upon not only great grades but also service in the community,” said John Raspante, Omerovic’s defense attorney. “So this is a shock to his family, to neighbors, relatives, everyone. It's inconsistent with the type of person Fahrudin is.”
Judge Girruzzi ultimately left his bail at $100,000.
If the grand jury chooses to return an indictment, Omerovic will have the option to have a bench trial rather than a trial before a jury.