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Lawyer: Deal in Works for Stetson Student Charged in Threats

DELAND -- The lawyer for a former Stetson University student accused of sending written death threats to a professor said Tuesday he is working on a plea deal he hopes will keep her out of jail.

On Feb. 24, 2011, DeLand police charged Sarah Foss, now 20, with written threats to kill and aggravated stalking. Police said Foss sent emails to David S. McCarthy, 33, a visiting history professor at Stetson.

Orlando attorney Rick Jancha said he reached an agreement with prosecutors. Officials at the State Attorney's Office could not be reached late Tuesday afternoon. Court records show a trial date set for next month.

Jancha said in a telephone interview Tuesday that the threats in the emails had "absolutely no credibility."

"It has been determined by licensed professionals that Ms. Foss, at the time of the offense was suffering from a temporary stress-induced mental health issue," Jancha said.

The lawyer said Foss has since resolved her mental issue and enrolled in another college, which he declined to disclose.

Court records show Foss underwent at least two mental evaluations in the past year.

According to police, Foss sent a barrage of increasingly menacing emails to McCarthy, eventually threatening to kill him.

Foss, of Gulf Breeze, indicated in messages sent that she had a romantic involvement with the history instructor, according to an arrest report. She asked the professor where he was in one of the e-mails, then said, "I will kill you if I had to."

In a news release sent Tuesday, Jancha said Foss wanted to set the record straight.

"At no time was there ever any romantic relationship between her and the professor. Any inferences otherwise have no basis in fact," the release said.

The release is Foss' apology to McCarthy, Jancha said.

"She wishes to apologize to Professor McCarthy for any embarrassment or distress that he may have experienced," the release said.

McCarthy could not be reached for comment Tuesday, as he is no longer with Stetson University, said Mary Ann Rogers, director of news and public relations.

"Dr. McCarthy was a visiting professor for two years and he left after two years, as planned," Rogers said.

Copyright © 2012, The Associated Press

Source: Daytona Beach News-Journal

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