SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Patrick Dai didn’t show any emotions when he appeared before a federal judge Thursday for the second time but broke down sobbing immediately after.
His tears came after U.S. Marshalls gave his mom permission to approach him. “We love you, Patrick,” Bing Liu said in what turned out to be the first words she’d been allowed to say to her son. “Your friends and family love you,” she reiterated.
Dai, who tried to block himself with a tissue box, seemed ashamed to face his mother over what he’s accused of posting online.
Dai, a 21-year-old junior at Cornell University, was arrested last week for anonymously posting threats to the Jewish community.
Many of those threats were read aloud in court at what’s called a detention hearing, a chance for Dai’s attorney to argue why he should be let out of jail.
“If I see another Jew on campus… if I see a pig male Jew I will stab you and slit your throat. if I see another pig female Jew I will drag you away and rape you and throw you off a cliff.”
That public defender, Lisa Peebles, said Dai would be better off in home confinement with his mother back in the Rochester area.
Letters of support bragging about Dai’s kindness and blaming his mental health offered a different side of the prosecutor’s villainous portrayal.
Peebles argued Dai’s explanation, that he was impersonating Hamas and wanted people to see how Hamas spoke about people of the Jewish faith.
She hopes the court would respect his attempted apology, which he posted only four hours after his series of hateful threats.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Therese Wiley Dancks didn’t buy the apology of the defense’s argument.
She sided with the government prosecutors to keep Dai in jail until his trial. She asked that he be found a facility closer to his mom in Monroe County and where he can access mental health services.
The judge openly worried that he might carry out his threats. “The country is drowning in mass shootings,” she said. She called him irrational and erratic in his current mental health crisis and “downward spiral.”
Prosecutors said Dai isn’t only a danger to others, but to himself. Both attorneys confirmed his attempts to commit suicide the days before he was arrested.
Judge Dancks spoke directly to Dai: “I’m so glad you haven’t died or killed anyone else. I’m sad for you… You matter, but so do the other people threatened by the posts.”