Alum receives probation for 'maliciously conveying false information'

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Alum receives probation for 'maliciously conveying false information'

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By Anita Pere
Staff writer

Baylor alumnus David Paul Cunningham, who in May threatened to destroy various buildings on Baylor's main campus, received three years of probation Thursday in a U.S. district court.

According to his attorney, Vik Deivanayagam, Cunningham, 34, was able to avoid prison time due to mental instability stemming from a serious head injury incurred while playing rugby at Baylor.

Cunningham faced a total of 20 years in prison for two felony counts of "maliciously conveying false information."

On May 1, Cunningham called a Baylor switchboard operator and told her he planned to place diesel drums in the basements of every building at Baylor, according to court records.

Cunningham said he would take this action in response to his perceived involvement of Baylor in the Virginia Tech shootings.

The Baylor Police Department was able to trace the call to a hotel room in Tyler, Cunningham's hometown.

The next day, Cunningham called Baylor Police Chief Jim Doak, threatening bodily harm. Again, he mentioned the Virginia Tech incident.

The call was traced to the same hotel room. The Tyler Police Department arrested Cunningham later that day.

"The justice system worked as it is supposed to," Doak said of the sentencing.

According to an article appearing in the Waco Tribune-Herald, Deivanayagam was able to convince U.S. District Judge Walter J. Smith Jr. that Cunningham did not grasp the levity of these threats and did not plan on carrying them out.

Deivanayagam said Cunningham was more or less "blowing off some steam."

Also in the article, Cunningham apologized to Judge Smith and said, "I just don't have a lot of tact in dealing with police enforcement."

Cunningham wrapped up his court statement by saying he wanted to see the elephants at the zoo in Tyler.

According to Baylor Lariat archives, Cunningham was kneed in the head during a scrimmage against the University of Texas in 1995. Cunningham suffered a concussion, a broken nose and a skull fracture.

He missed two weeks of school and his injuries required cosmetic surgery.

Cunningham graduated the next spring with a degree in engineering.

He was expelled for undisclosed reasons as a graduate student in 2001

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Original Source: The Lariat
<a href="http://www.baylor.edu/Lariat/news.php?action=story&story=47982">http://www.baylor.edu/Lariat/news.php?action=story&story=47982</a>

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Anita Pere

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2008-02-04

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Kacey Beddoes

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Julie Freeman (Julie_Freeman@baylor.edu)

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eng

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Anita Pere, "Alum receives probation for &#39;maliciously conveying false information&#39;," in The April 16 Archive, Item #1647, http://april16archive.org/items/show/1647 (accessed August 28, 2014).