By Mark E. Vogler
---- — METHUEN — Cameron D’Ambrosio got to sleep in his own home last night for the first time in more than a month since being arrested for allegedly posting threatening remarks on his Facebook page that he would top the Boston Marathon bombing.
The 18-year-old Methuen High School senior was released from the Essex County Jail in Middleton on personal recognizance after the Essex County Grand Jury decided against indicting him on the charge of communicating a terrorist threat – a felony crime that carries a prison sentence of up to 20 years.
Though D’Ambrosio is due back in Lawrence District Court on June 27, spokeswoman Carrie Kimball-Monahan of District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett’s office said there would be no further prosecution of the case.
“We’re extremely pleased with the grand Jury decision (not to indict) and the district attorney’s decision to dismiss the case,” Defense attorney Geoffrey DuBosque said in an interview last night.
“The family is just extremely relieved to be able to take their son home. He’s been out at Middleton Jail since the date of his arraignment,” DuBosque said of his client.
D’Ambrosio would have graduated this Sunday with his classmates at Methuen High School. But his education and future have been in limbo after he was suspended and while he’s been confined to a jail cell after a judge declared him a threat to the community.
With the charges against D’Ambrosio dropped, it’s not clear whether he will be allowed to make up any incomplete course work and graduate this year. His class is due to graduate Sunday.
“This is the first I’m hearing of the (grand Jury) decision,” Methuen School Superintendent Judith Scannell said last night.
“I have not received a call from the District Attorney’s office. I will be meeting with the high school administration tomorrow to discuss next steps,” Scannell said.
DuBosque said he didn’t know how yesterday’s developments will affect his client’s standing at Methuen High School or what the family planned to do.
“Whether he will be able to graduate now, I don’t know. I have been focused on representing him in the criminal courts. I haven’t been involved in the school proceedings,” he said.
“It’s been my position all along that the Facebook posting did not make the criteria of the statue under which my client was charged. A grand jury had an opportunity to hear the evidence and decided not to issue an indictment on the charge,” he said.
DuBosque has argued that D’Ambrosio’s post was nothing more than rap lyrics with no specific threat. He said yesterday the state’s claims against his client did not meet the statutory requirement for making a terrorist threat because D’Ambrosio in his post did not specifically threaten to bomb anything or place an explosive anywhere.
“Don’t (expletive) cry or be worried because all YOU people (expletive) caused this (expletive). (Expletive) a boston bombing wait till u see the (expletive) I do, Ima be famous for rapping, and beating every murder charge that comes across me!” Dambrosio wrote on Facebook.
Several dozen students reported the post to Methuen High School administrators on May 1, shortly after D’Ambrosio published it. Administrators alerted the school resource officer, who arrested D’Ambrosio without incident on Pleasant Street later that afternoon. Police searched his backpack, and later his home.
Police did not find any weapons, explosives or plans to attack any targets, DuBosque and Methuen Police have said. Police seized D’Ambrosio’s computer and XBox 360 video game console.
D’Ambrosio was ordered held without bail last month. District Court Judge Lynn Rooney said past incidents making threats, including one against his sister for which he was sentenced to six months of probation, led her to believe his behavior was “escalating.” An appeal on the bail ruling was denied late last month in Salem Superior Court.
Rooney said she also was troubled by a police report from November 2011, which said D’Ambrosio threatened to shoot two eighth-grade students. Police said he admitted to making that statement, but was only kidding.
Reached yesterday for comment on the grand Jury’s decision not to indict, Methuen Police Chief Joseph Solomon stood by his department’s decision to arrest D’Ambrosio and its handling of the case.
“Although we disagree with the grand jury’s decision, we respect it,” Solomon said in a statement he later posted on the Methuen Police Department Facebook page.
“Several judiciary levels have confirmed the probable cause in this case as it has worked it’s way through the criminal justice system. We will continue to take all threats against our community seriously and will always utilize due diligence in our investigation,” Solomon said.
In his interview last night, DuBosque initially expressed doubts that the district attorney’s case against his client was over.
“It (the lack of a grand jury indictment) doesn’t end the case,” DuBosque said.
“All it means is that no indictment was issued. We still have to appear in Lawrence District court on June 27th. At that time, the district attorney’s office will have decide whether they want to continue prosecuting the case,” he said.
But Kimball-Monahan said she understood the upcoming court hearing would just be a formality to officially close the case.
“Because there’s no lesser or included offense in District Court, we will file a nol prosse to cease the prosecution,” she said.