A Harvard University student accused of sending emails warning of hidden "shrapnel bombs" on campus to get out of taking his final exams was granted bail today after agreeing to renounce his dual citizenship with South Korean and surrender his passport so he couldn't flee the country.
Sophomore Eldo Kim was also banned from Harvard's campus without specific permission and an escort.
Kim, 20, pleaded not guilty and was released on $100,000 bond. The government was initially concerned about granting him bail because he had dual citizenship with the U.S. and South Korea, and feared that he could flee the country. Kim agreed to renounce his South Korean citizenship and surrender his South Korean passport.
Kim allegedly wrote that two shrapnel bombs had been hidden in several buildings on the campus. No bombs were found on the campus, but the threat created exam-day chaos that led to the postponement of final exams.
"According to Kim, he was motivated by a desire to avoid a final exam," FBI special agent Thomas Dalton wrote in the affidavit.
When Kim heard a fire alarm just before he was slated to take an exam at Emerson Hall, "he knew that his plan had worked,'' the affidavit states.
The four buildings Kim mentioned by name were evacuated as Cambridge and Boston police along with Massachusetts State Police bomb squad technicians swept the campus and examined any unattended bags and backpacks. Kim's alleged threat warned first responders to "be quick for they will go off soon," according to the affidavit.
"guess [sic] correctly," Kim allegedly wrote via Guerilla Mail, which he used to create an anonymous email address, according to a FBI affidavit. The subject line was "bombs placed around campus." Kim then used an internet service called TOR to disguise his computer's IP address in an effort to thwart law enforcement, the affidavit states. But because it was sent using Harvard's server the FBI was at his door within hours of the bomb scare.
No explosive devices were located and students were allowed to return to campus just after 3 p.m.
Kim was brought into federal court today handcuffed and shackled. He was wearing Harvard University sweatpants, dock shoes and a T-shirt with the letters KHS, which was the initials of his high school in Washington state.
Roughly eight months ago on April 15, two shrapnel bombs were detonated near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people, including an 8-year-old boy, and wounding more than 260 others.
One accused bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was a student at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth. He is currently being held without bail in connection with a sweeping federal indictment charging him with murder and terrorism. He could face the death penalty. He has pleaded not guilty.
His brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was also accused in the attack but was killed in a gun battle with police in Watertown days later. The Tsarnaev brothers also lived in Cambridge.