Teacher found guilty of threatening school

June 26, 2008 4:22:09 PM PDT
Susan Romanysczn still says "I didn't do it", moments after she was convicted on 11 counts of making terroristic threats last October at Warminster's Longstreth Elementary School. She was acquitted on 7 counts related to the 9-day siege in which crude notes were found on walls and pieces of paper scattered around the school. She was also convicted of planting a fake bomb in a 5th grader's desk.

It was a case based on circumstantial evidence. The strongest evidence the jury found was a surveillance video of Romanysczn going in and out of rooms where the threats were discovered within moments. Her fingerprint was found on one note, and the jury convicted her on some handwriting similarities like these 2 D's, one from her classroom blackboard, the other from one of the threats.

Her motive, the prosecution says, was anger over her 4th grade teaching assignment.

Assistant district attorney Gary Gambardella was pleased with the verdict. "She has now been found guilty today of terrorizing students and the school community. If she wants to do that, she should be a teacher for the Taliban."

The Bucks County jury deliberated 9 hours over the last 2 days to reach their verdict Romanysczn is now being treated for breast cancer. She remains free on 100-thousand dollars cash bail. The judge held off on a sentencing date until a full psychiatric examination is finished. She could receive a prison term of 70-years or more...

Defense attorney Sara Webster described her client's state of mind. "She's incredibly heart broken. As you all know, she is sick. This has been devastating to her and her family. She's going to continue with her treatment. We'll sit down next week and talk about where to go from here."

The terror threats set off more than a week of panic, fear and disruption at the school. Longstreth's principal, Keely Mahan, was in the courtroom for today's verdict. "We respect what the jury had to say."

Gambardella hopes it puts to rest a traumatizing time. "That school was absolutely terrorized. We have 450 kids, another 50 adults, teachers and staff, and every one of the tem was terrorized."