The Collegian
Saturday, December 10, 2022

Library intruder faces new charges, jail time

The man who police say triggered the May 6 campus lockdown faces new charges of drug possession and a felony charge of wearing a mask in public.

Tim Mihalcoe, University of Richmond Police Department investigator, obtained two new arrest warrants for the man, 19-year-old Seth Newman, based on lab results showing he had possessed marijuana and an undefined schedule-three drug.

On July 29, Newman was arrested for the second time since the incident at Boatwright Memorial Library and was taken to Henrico County Jail.

Newman will have a hearing at Henrico County General District Court on Sept. 4 at 9:30 a.m. for his possession charges.

Possession of marijuana is a class 1 misdemeanor when it is a second offense or when the amount is less than half an ounce. Mihalcoe said he did not think Newman had any prior possession charges. A class one marijuana possession charge carries a maximum penalty of 12 months in prison and a $2,500 fine.

Mihalcoe did not comment on how much marijuana was recovered from Newman's home.

Possession of schedule-three drugs, which include painkillers, anabolic steroids and special K, carries a maximum penalty of up to six months in prison and a $500 fine.

Newman's attorney, David Whaley, said the schedule three drug was Newman's cough medication and that Newman had a small bag of marijuana.

"I suspect that those charges will be dropped," Whaley said, "because he's not guilty."

Whaley said he thought officials at the university were pushing Newman's prosecution unnecessarily and were damaging his life. Newman had been accepted into college but his application has been suspended because of the pending felony charge of wearing a mask in public, which will be separately tried in the City of Richmond.

Whaley said that Newman had been fired recently from his job a Little Sister's of the Poor near Three Chopt Road. Little Sister's of the Poor said they would not comment on human resource matters to the media.

Lieutenant Adrienne Murray of the university police said she sympathized with Newman's situation but that his actions had been too serious to let go.

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"Personally I do feel bad for Seth," Murray said. "I feel just as bad for all the staff, students and faculty who sat under desks and in dark offices for hours fearing their lives were in danger and for all the area police who worked hours on end searching our campus."

During the afternoon of May 6, police say Newman entered Boatwright Memorial Library, where employees said they observed him wearing a fake beard, a bucket hat, glasses and a brown jacket with the word "Sheriff" emblazoned on the back. He was also carrying a pellet gun in a holster at his side, police said.

Whaley said Newman approached the library's information desk, told employees he was investigating fornication in the bathrooms and asked to be locked in all night. He then asked for staff to leave the lights on because he was afraid of the dark, Whaley said.

Newman was initially charged with two misdemeanors for impersonating an officer and for carrying a concealed weapon as well as a felony for wearing a mask in public, which refers to a law dating back to when the Ku Klux Klan was much more visible. The misdemeanor charges, however, were dropped.

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