Additional pretrial set for student accused of making death threats


In Torrance court today, another pretrial was set for the 35-year-old student accused of making death threats toward EC administrators, faculty, students and parents nearly three months ago.

Deputy DA Patrick O’Crowley asked that an additional pretrial session be set for Jan. 8 for James Lemus, who wore a similar light blue L.A. County Jail jumpsuit to his last few court appearances, but had a closely shaved head, a different look from his last court date.

Lemus is accused of telling Veterans Center employee Miriam Jauregui Sept. 30, “I have been told that I need to kill the parents of these children walking on campus… I will tied (sic) them to a pole or wall and ripped (sic) them to pieces,” according to a temporary restraining order (TRO) granted in early October.

After the next pretrial date was set and Lemus was escorted out of the courtroom, Judge Eric Taylor handed O’Crowley subpoenaed information about the case.

“There’s something from Harbor-UCLA,” Taylor said. “I don’t think you’ve seen this.”

After Lemus was taken into custody Oct. 1, the day after he made the threats, he was taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center for a 72-hour mental evaluation.

According to a TRO granted Oct. 3, Lemus voiced threats to Jauregui, saying he will kill Vice President of Academic Affairs Francisco Arce. He also included “the teacher that said I was harassing her,” according to the TRO.

Officials believe the teacher to be English instructor Leeanne Bergeron, who Lemus took a class with in the past. On Oct. 7, a second TRO was granted to protect Bergeron and “all employees of the El Camino Community College District.”

Bergeron’s husband was in the courtroom this morning but stepped out minutes before Lemus entered. He stayed in the hall with EC Police Chief Michael Trevis while Lemus was in the courtroom.

Lemus’ pretrial is set for Jan. 8 and his trial must begin before Jan. 22. His bail remains at $1.2 million.

Read our full story on this here.