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Long IslandCrime

Terror case against LI student dismissed

Ryan Bernhardt in his attorney Brian Griffen's office

Ryan Bernhardt in his attorney Brian Griffen's office in Garden City. (Feb. 15, 2013) Credit: Howard Schnapp

Prosecutors have dismissed a case against a Massapequa High School senior arrested last fall on charges that he made "terroristic threats" to a classmate about blowing up his school and killing people.

A spokesman for Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice said last week that there was insufficient evidence to sustain a criminal case against Ryan Bernhardt, 17.

Bernhardt, a senior, was charged with a felony. Police said at the time that he had threatened to blow up his school and said he'd like a chance to "kill everyone" during a conversation with two friends at a local bagel shop.

Bernhardt, who has been accepted to several colleges and plans to study medicine, now says he never threatened to hurt anyone. One of two students he allegedly made the threats to also denies he ever heard Bernhardt threaten to hurt anyone, Bernhardt's lawyer said.

"Everyone who knows me knows I'm a good person," Bernhardt said Friday. "Violence is not a part of who I am."

Bernhardt's lawyer, Brian Griffin of Garden City, said his client should never have been arrested.

"Ryan is an honor student with a stellar background who never posed a threat to anyone and has been praised by every teacher that taught him," Griffin said. "His words, although some regretful, were merely words which every citizen has a right to say."

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