UPDATE: Former Coventry Teacher Arrested After Threats

Todd Gillheeney, a former CHS math teacher was arraigned in Kent County Court this afternoon.


Update - 4:35 p.m: After undergoing a psychological evaluation, Gillheeney came before Judge Mary McCaffrey in Kent County District Court with his Attorney Thomas G. Gulick, where he was charged with felony threats to public officials and two misdemeanor charges for the alleged harassment of Coventry High School Vice Principals Susan Chandler and Lori Ferguson. Coventry Police Lt. John Shields confirmed that Gillheeney had no prior background of criminal history. No plea was taken. 

Judge McCaffrey stated that she did not believe Gillheeney met the criteria for hospitalization, however she did have additional concerns for which she referred him to pretrial services.

Gillheeney was released on $10,000 personal recognizance bail, but with the conditions that he receive a full mental health evaluation and monitoring from pretrial services, reside with his parents in North Providence while his case is pending, agree to not have any contact with CHS Principal Mike Hobin and VPs Chandler and Ferguson, and agree to not trespass or have contact with any Coventry schools or the administration building.

A status date of March 20 was set to review his conditions of bail and a felony screening was set for April 15.

Stay with Coventry Patch for updates on this story as they become available.

1:53 p.m.: Police have arrested former Coventry High School teacher Todd Gillheeney after school officials forwarded several threatening/disturbing tweets to the School Resource Officer. 

Gillheeney, 33, of 11 Larchmont Dr., Coventry, who was recently terminated, was charged with threats to public officials, cyberstalking and crank or obscene phone calls (harassing). School officials have declined to give the reason for Gillheeney's termination, referring to it only as a "personnel issue".

Police began investigating Feb. 28 after High School officials forwarded the tweets.

The first tweet in question appeared at 12:01 p.m. on Gillheeney's Twitter account, stating, "Dead man walking."

Little more than an hour later, another post stated: "Judgement day, let the countdown begin."

Later that evening at 6:23 p.m., a tweet stated: "Planning something and actually doing it are 2 completely different things."

Fifteen minutes later at 6:38 p.m., a post from the account read: "All I need is a stage."

At 7:35 p.m.: "Enjoy tonight, redemptions creeping."

At 10:26 p.m., a final message was posted that said, "Pretty much."

After reviewing the messages officers searched Gillheeney’s home, seizing a Stag Arms AR-15 rifle, several magazines, more than 400 rounds of ammo, a computer and assorted electronic devices.  

"There were no direct threats against any school, just a lot of cryptic posts about today's date and some play on words," said Coventry Police Chief Bryan Volpe. "It was enough to raise our awareness level so we put a team together pretty quick, brought it to a judge to get an arrest warrant and then a search warrant and went to his house around 2 this morning. In the scope of what's going on around the country, we can't take any chances with this."

There was never any danger to any student, Superintendent Mike Almeida wrote in a letter to parents Friday. "The safety of the students of Coventry has been at the forefront of our minds and at no time was the safety of the students compromised," he wrote.

Gillheeney will be arraigned in Kent County District Court at 2 p.m.

Stay with Coventry Patch for updates on this story as they become available.

Allie Vadnais-Lobao March 13, 2013 at 02:45 PM
Let us just talk about those cryptic messages... "Dead man walking." Wow- big deal! He has a child, maybe he was tired? Or maybe this was how he felt after he had been fired? Have you never said you felt like a dead man/woman before? And may I just ask how you all feel he was going to walk into the school when he was fired? What was he going to do? Carry a gym bag in through the front door past the bullet proof, glass- enclosed area where the secretary has to buzz you in? Oh yes! I am sure she would just let him walk through no question... I went to Coventry High School and, of course, rumors were spread, but no truth ever came of it. He was one of the few teachers that made class fun and actually cared about his students. Hobin has been waiting to get his hands on him for years! If you would like to discuss the supposed "sleeping with students" bull, here is what I have to say to that, HIGHLY DOUBTFUL. And a senior is pregnant with his child?? So now we can take paternity tests while the baby is in the womb? Really people. If the girl would SUPPOSEDLY sleep with a teacher, what are the chances that her mother taught her right and she kept her legs closed on a day to day basis? I made it through high school just fine without sleeping with my teachers because I was taught to respect myself.
Allie Vadnais-Lobao March 13, 2013 at 02:46 PM
“Pretty much,” you guys need to get a life. Oh no! I said pretty much, this must mean that I too plan to shoot innocent students...
Coventry Jane March 13, 2013 at 03:00 PM
An outbreak of Chlamydia? I've lived here since well before 2010 and I don't recall hearing or reading about that. Of course, when you reference "two students stabbing each other", "an outbreak of Chlamydia" and "now this" as the recent noteworthy happenings in Coventry, not mentioning our fire district that is on the verge of liquidation or the town's horrific pension liability - I don't know how seriously I can take your comments.
Sadie March 13, 2013 at 03:03 PM
You sound like you know her VERY well...hmm. Any relation?
Fun Facts March 31, 2013 at 10:05 PM
I went to Coventry High School, I graduated in 2006. Mr. Gillheeney, including a handful of teachers there also including a certain Vice Principal have all acted very inappropriate around ladies in that school. Of course most of these girls were dressing inappropriately to begin with; honestly they were whores let me just clarify that. I think the parents for these girls are also very much to blame they are very much responsible for raising such low class woman, I'm disgusted with attending such a school. Parents are suppose to know what their kids are up to and the fact that this has been going on even when I started attending the school in 2002. 10 years? It takes 10 years for an Adult to understand the fucking situation!?, the problem is not just a Teacher diddling kids in high school. The problem is you raised a town whore and your putting the responsibility where it DOES NOT FUCKING APPLY. THESE ARE CONSENTING TEENAGERS NO ONE FORCED THEM TO BE INVITED TO PARTY AT A TEACHERS HOUSE WHERE ALCOHOL AND DRUGS ARE PRESENT. WAKE THE FUCK UP PEOPLE.


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