Fresno State threat maker apologizes, gets punished

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No apology could keep former Fresno State football player Christian Pryor out of the prison system after his social media threat shut down the university. (KFSN)

No apology could keep former Fresno State football player Christian Pryor out of the prison system after his social media threat shut down the university.

Pryor didn't say much Friday at his punishment hearing. He just took his lumps and went to jail when his attorney couldn't convince the judge to keep him out.

But Pryor wrote the judge a very thoughtful apology in writing and even Fresno State's quarterback says the threat was nothing more than a joke.

The Fresno State campus emptied last November after word spread of a threat on the social media app Yik Yak. Christian Pryor posted that he was about to release his frustrations and his choice of weapon was an M-4 carbine.

"It was a very scary message," said prosecutor Karnig Panosian. "In light of other issues in other states and cities regarding campus threats, Mr. Pryor should've known better."

As it turns out, he did know better. In a letter to the judge, Pryor said he deleted the message within a few minutes. He said he thought about Virginia Tech, Columbine, and Sandy Hook and realized that kind of threat wasn't something to joke about. But it was too late, it scared students and faculty left the campus.
Pryor called it "a day I wish I could do all over."

Since then, he's moved to Los Angeles with family, done more than 70 hours of community service, and enrolled in community college.

"He's doing his best to remain in school, to get an education, to move forward in his life," said his defense attorney Sharon Appelbaum

People who've known Pryor since childhood and a few Fresno State students wrote letters or gave statements saying the post was out of character.

Even Bulldog quarterback Chason Virgil, who was Pryor's roommate, said he thought it was just a joke and that Pryor is a "good guy" who never had weapons.
Pryor's mother told Action News her son made a stupid mistake when he was barely 18, and now this felony conviction means he can never be a productive member of society.

ABC30 legal analyst Tony Capozzi says Pryor can turn it around.
"It's tough, but life isn't over," he said. "There are many ways to overcome this and I've seen it many, many times."

The judge sent Pryor to Wasco for an evaluation to determine if he should go to prison, jail or on probation. Capozzi says, after he serves any time and stays out of trouble, Pryor will be able to get the felony reduced to a misdemeanor and move on.
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