Judge dismisses 2 counts against St. Olaf student arrested for threats

A judge has dismissed two counts against a St. Olaf College student who was arrested just over a year ago after packaging for high-capacity gun magazines was found on campus by janitors.

Waylon Kurts faced three conspiracy counts and a charge of terroristic threats after he was arrested in April 2023.

In a ruling filed on Wednesday, the judge found there wasn't probable cause to support two of the conspiracy counts: conspiracy to commit assault and conspiracy to commit threats of violence. The terroristic threats charge and a conspiracy to commit theft count remain against Kurts.

Last year, in motions, Kurts' defense attorney Paul Rogosheske argued for the case to be dismissed, saying Kurts wasn't up to anything nefarious, but rather his actions were misconstrued by authorities. Rogosheske said Kurts wasn't planning to harm anyone but rather Kurts was a gun enthusiast who was training for self-defense purposes.

For the conspiracy charges, the judge agreed with arguments by the defense that there was no known agreement or plan that Kurts would commit an assault or threats of violence.

In arguments to dismiss the terroristic threat charge, the defense argued that nothing Kurts did could be conceived as a "true threat" as Kurts never directly communicated a threat to another person.

However, citing state precedent, the judge found that actions can constitute threats, writing that "[Kurts] was aware that his possession of firearm parts would cause extreme fear to meet the probable cause standard."