4chan Fan Cuts Death Threat Plea, But Gets Child Porn Pass From Feds

A college student who posted messages on 4chan threatening to go on a shooting spree at a Michigan university has struck a felony plea deal that spares him from being charged with possession of child pornography downloaded from the notorious web site, according to court records.

As part of an agreement with federal prosecutors, Ali Saad will plead guilty to a felony charge related to his November 2010 4chan postings that claimed he “would use a machine gun to shoot up a classroom on the campus of Wayne State University.”

Along with referring to the Columbine and Virginia Tech shootings, the 20-year-old Saad claimed that he would use his laptop to stream the shooting live via Stickam, the popular video site.

Law enforcement officials learned of the posts--which Saad put in 4chan’s anarchic “/b/ “ forum--from two sources apparently alarmed by the threats. After 4chan administrators provided the FBI with the IP address from which the threats emanated, agents raided Saad’s Dearborn home. Saad, pictured in the above mug shot, admitted making the Wayne State threats, but said he had no intention of actually carrying out an assault.

During the search, Saad also copped to downloading about 25 child pornography images from 4chan (an admission confirmed by an FBI review of his hard drive, which “revealed more than 20 stored files containing child pornographic images,” according to a criminal complaint).

But Saad’s plea agreement, filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit, notes that prosecutors have agreed “not to bring any additional charges in this case, including charges related to the possession and receipt of child pornography.” Based on federal sentencing guidelines, Saad likely faces between six and 12 months in custody.

The plea deal, filed last week, has to be approved by a federal judge. Saad, who has attended Henry Ford Community College, recently was accepted at Michigan State University, where he is “starting in late summer/fall,” according to a court filing.