Va. man pleads guilty to threatening Howard U students: 'It's not murder if they're black'

John Edgar Rust. (Virginia State Police Sex Offender and Crimes against Minors Registry)

An Alexandria man has pleaded guilty to charges of threatening online to murder African Americans at Howard University.

John Edgar Rust, 26, a convicted sex offender, used the in-store Wi-Fi of a Panera Bread restaurant in Alexandria to post the threat to two online messageboards on Nov. 11, 2015, according to documents presented to the court.

“After all, it’s not murder if they’re black,” Rust said online, according to an FBI affidavit.

The affidavit states investigators determined Rust’s computer was connected to the restaurant’s Wi-Fi network, and that he made a restaurant purchase that day on his credit card.

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Rust is a previously convicted felon, according to a statement from the Department of Justice after he was arrested in October 2017. He was on probation and barred from using the Internet at the time he made the threats in 2015.

According to the Virginia Sex Offender Registry, a man named John Edgar Rust, 26, of Alexandria, was convicted in November 2012 of indecent liberties with a child by custodian and aggravated sexual battery against a minor.

Rust’s sentencing is scheduled for July 20. He faces up to five years in prison.

View the court document here. Caution: Language in the document might be offensive.

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