Rainer Reinscheid, the college professor this spring in retaliation for the suicide of his 14-year-old son, pleaded not guilty to nine arson charges Wednesday morning in a Newport Beach courthouse.
But most of the hearing focused on whether Reinscheid, an associate professor at UC Irvine, should .
Orange County Deputy District Attorney Andrew Katz cited , arguing they were plans, not simply the violent fantasies of a grieving father.
Orange County Superior Court Judge Karen Robinson sided with Katz, and denied bail.
Katz compared Reinscheid's threats to those made by mass murderers such as James Holmes, who allegedly killed dozens in a Colorado theater, the Columbine shooters and Wade Michael Page, accused of killing six in a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.
Reinscheid's emails "should be taken seriously," Katz told the judge. "He will follow through with those plans."
But the professor nodded emphatically as defense attorney Ron Cordova argued that the emails and web searches allegedly written and made by Reinscheid were "theraputic" fantasies.
"There is no consistent threat," Cordova said, pointing to the diversity of violence threatened in , from using machine guns to forcing a man to hang himself.
Furthermore, Reinscheid had no access to a weapon and, according to his wife, "detested" firearms, Cordova said. Reinscheid's wife has offered to turn over to the court a .22-caliber handgun kept in the house in a lockbox if Reinscheid is allowed bail, he said.
Searches by Irvine police of Reinscheid's home and office have not turned up any weapons, Katz admitted. But researching how to buy guns and writing about suicide after a murderous rampage through Uni High should keep him behind bars, prosecutors argued.
The alleged series of arsons—at his son's school, at the home of the assistant principal who reportedly disciplined Reinscheid's son before his suicide, and in the park where Reinscheid's son killed himself—show a man "at the end of his rope," Katz said.
"He didn't just stop; he was caught," the deputy district attorney added.
The professor's played a role in the judge's decision.
"He has done the legwork. He has done his homework," Robinson said.
Prosecutors also contend the professor—a German national—is a flight risk if released on bail. Recent evidence turned up by Irvine police, revealed at the hearing, show Reinscheid took a leave of absence from work and applied to work in Singapore, Katz said. Reinscheid's Internet searches included looking up Air China plane tickets out of the country, he added.