Thomas Cunningham, One Of The CU-Boulder Students Accused Of Feeding Pot Brownies To Class, Charged With 18 Felonies

Thomas Ricardo Cunningham, one of the two University of Colorado students accused of feeding pot brownies to a history class on Friday, sending three to the hospital and sickening five others, formally was charged Wednesday with 18 felonies.

Cunningham, 21, was charged with eight counts of second-degree assault -- Class 4 felonies -- and eight counts of inducing consumption of a controlled substance -- Class 5 felonies -- according to the Boulder District Attorney's Office.

He also was charged with conspiracy to commit second-degree assault and conspiracy to induce consumption of a controlled substance, also Class 5 felonies.

According to Colorado statute, a person commits second-degree assault if "for a purpose other

than lawful medical or therapeutic treatment, he intentionally causes stupor, unconsciousness, or other physical or mental impairment or injury to another person by administering to him, without his consent, a drug, substance or preparation capable of producing intended harm."

A person commits inducing consumption of a controlled substance by, "surreptitiously or by means of fraud, misrepresentation, suppression of truth, deception, or subterfuge, to cause any other person to unknowingly consume or receive the direct administration of any controlled substance."

Cunningham originally was arrested on suspicion of four felony counts -- second-degree assault, conspiracy to commit second-degree assault, inducing consumption of a controlled substance and conspiracy to induce consumption of a controlled substance.

"We reviewed the facts and filed the charges that my deputy felt were appropriate," said Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett. "Both defendants will get good representation and will work with my prosecutors to find a just resolution."

Cunningham and his attorney, Philip Bienvenu, declined to comment on the case after his appearance at the Boulder County Jail.

The other student arrested in the case, Mary Elizabeth Essa, 19, is scheduled for a formal filing of charges Thursday.

According to police and court records, Cunningham and Essa brought marijuana-laced brownies to their history class Friday as part of "bring food day," but did not tell anyone else in the class the brownies were laced.

Later that day, the professor and several students complained of symptoms including dizziness, anxiety and loss of consciousness. The professor and two students were hospitalized after ingesting the brownies.

CU police said both Cunningham and Essa on Saturday admitted the brownies contained marijuana.

During the hearing, Bienvenu told Boulder County Judge Noel Blum that Cunningham has been suspended from CU and will not return to school in the spring

Bienvenu also added he plans to file motion to amend Cunningham's bond to allow him to leave the state and return home where he could be "supervised." Cunningham is currently free on $5,000 bond.

Each of the second-degree assault charges carries a possible prison sentence of two to six years, while the Class 5 felony charges could carry one to three years each.

Cunningham waived a status conference and the case is scheduled for arraignment on Jan. 25. ___

(c)2012 the Daily Camera (Boulder, Colo.)

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