Former UK student who made threats against campus sentenced to 6 months of prison


Haily Duvall, 19, a UK student, was charged with threatening interstate communications, false statements and false information in Federal District Court in Lexington on Friday, Nov. 16, 2018.

Rick Childress

A federal judge sentenced Haily Duvall—a former UK student who pleaded guilty to federal charges that she made online threats against UK’s campus last year—to six months of federal prison time and six months of home detention at a sentencing hearing in Lexington on Tuesday. 

Judge Danny Reeves said during the hearing that the sentence was necessary to serve as a general public deterrence against further similar crimes. Duvall, 20, will also face a $1,800 fine. 

Tuesday’s sentencing hearing came after Duvall pleaded guilty to one count of interstate transmission of false statements involving explosives, just one of the 15 federal charges she faced in June. She took a plea deal that dropped the other 14 charges.

Jay Oakley, the attorney representing Duvall, at first asked the court to consider only giving Duvall probation, since she has spent the last several months out of jail and has been receiving treatment from a professional psychologist for a personality disorder that was diagnosed after she’d been charged.

With continued treatment, Duvall had a very low chance of ever repeating the threats she admitted to making against campus in November 2018, Oakley argued before the court.  

“Prison is not the answer here,” Oakley said. “Treatment is the answer.”

The exact disorder, which Duvall was diagnosed with, is not publicly known as the psychologist’s report was filed under seal.

Reading portions of the report before the court, Reeves said, that the report suggested that the disorder caused Duvall to seek attention and control and likely contributed her to committing the crime. 

During sentencing, Reeves required that Duvall undergo further mental health treatment and evaluation through the duration of her sentence and subsequent probation.

Outside of court Oakley told the Lexington Herald-Leader that they were deflated by the sentence, but that after her sentence is served, Duvall will lead a good life for herself. 

Duvall, who was a pre-nursing sophomore who also worked at UK HealthCare facilities, was originally arrested hours after she made threats against UK’s campus via Snapchat. Duvall further circulated the threats by reporting the threats to local media—including the Kernel—and by posting them in group chats that were frequented by thousands of UK students

The threats plunged UK into uncertainty, causing classes to be cancelled en masse. During the morning following Duvall’s arrest, UK’s White Hall classroom—which was directly mentioned in one of the Snapchat threats— was nearly devoid of students. 

READ: The bomb threat to UK’s White Hall: 22 hours of uncertainty