After a recent mental health evaluation, a former High Point University student is being involuntarily committed to a Central Regional Hospital.
The student, Paul Arnold Steber, is a nineteen-year-old from Boston. A former freshman, he was recently charged with communicating threats and multiple counts of having a gun on educational property.
Judge Marcus Shields of the Guilford County District Court decreased Steber’s bail from two million dollars to $250,000. However, Shield’s ruled that Steber must first serve a portion of time at a state-run psychiatric hospital in Butner.
Steber’s first appearance was this Monday, where Shields ruled that a forensic evaluation conducted that day confirmed Steber’s mental capacity prevented court proceedings from continuing, even stating that future plans for school wouldn’t be likely.
Shields remained hopeful, stating that Steber’s commitment at Central Regional could restore Steber or determine if the capacity to start court proceedings was present.
Prosecutor of the case, Lori Wickline, told Shields several of her own concerns regarding the case. According to Wickline, Steber had been planning a mass shooting for months, with research even including numerous videos of mass shootings.
Additionally, Steber had told police that the primary reason he had come to North Carolina was because of how easy it was to get guns in the state. Steber also stated that he wouldn’t be an outcast any longer and if he wasn’t accepted into a fraternity and his roommate was, he would shoot his roommate and then himself.
Steber hadn’t been able to comprehend that he was no longer a student at High Point University nor was he allowed on campus. There are also concerns for Steber’s former roommate. While his roommate’s name has been withheld for his own safety and privacy, Steber’s roommate’s family has become increasingly worried about their son.
According to Shields, if Steber were to make bail, he wouldn’t be able to visit his school, nor use his passport card or the internet. Steber would be forced to give up his passport card. This would prevent Steber from traveling by land or sea ports-of-entry from Canada, Mexico, the Carribean and Bermuda as well as any domestic air travel.
Wickline emphasized how concerning the case was, regarding all the information known as well as how the investigation is still continuing.
Steber’s own attorney, John Bryon, told Shields that because of his charges being low-level offenses, that his jail time had become vindictive simply because of the high publicity. Bryson also told Shields to release Steber to his parents. Steber’s mother was present in the courtroom watching her son on a live broadcast from jail.
Bryson tried his best to appeal to Shields empathy, stating that Steber’s parents were trying to do what was best for their troubled son.
“He came here for college and got off track,” said Bryson.