United States Attorney's Office for the District of Hawaii

12/10/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 12/10/2019 21:01

Former college student pleads guilty to threatening professors

HONOLULU, Hawaii - Neill Ong Tumulac, 27, of Honolulu, Hawaii, pleaded guilty today in federal court to one count of transmitting a threat in interstate commerce. Sentencing is scheduled for April 9, 2020 before U.S. District Judge Leslie E. Kobayashi.

U.S. Attorney Kenji M. Price for the District of Hawaii stated that according to court documents and information presented in court, from February 2018 to October 2018, Tumulac sent hundreds of threatening email messages to two of his professors at a local community college. The threats escalated and Tumulac threatened to murder one of the professors. The professors believed that they were potential targets of violence, and obtained temporary restraining orders against Tumulac. The professors suffered significant stress, anxiety, and one of them stopped teaching because of the threats.

Tumulac was declared incompetent to stand trial on April 3, 2019, and was sent to a facility on the mainland for rehabilitation. After receiving mental health treatment and responding favorably, Tumulac returned to Hawaii and was declared competent to stand trial on December 3, 2019. As part of his plea agreement, Tumulac acknowledged that he is in need of mental health treatment, and agreed that a condition of his supervised release shall require him to meaningfully participate in such treatment, including by cooperating with his treating physicians and taking any prescribed medications. According to information presented in court, Tumulac plans to re-enroll in college on the mainland following his release, with the support of his parents, who plan to reside with him.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Marc A. Wallenstein.