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Former Gwinnett student says he was falsely imprisoned 4 years | Family claims lack of autism awareness

A teacher received a death threat in 2017. Five years later, Gwinnett investigators don't know who sent it and dropped charges against a former student.

Rebecca Lindstrom

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Published: 10:59 PM EDT July 22, 2022
Updated: 11:05 AM EDT July 25, 2022

For nearly five years, a Gwinnett County man never wavered. He insisted he never sent a long, rambling email threatening to kill a special education teacher.

Still, he remained in jail without a conviction, for nearly the same time he would have served if found guilty of the crime.

But, the case never went to trial. David Warth was never found guilty. 11Alive Investigates detailed the relationship between Warth and his teacher after his arrest in 2019. 

After the election of a new District Attorney, new evidence and a polygraph, prosecutors requested to drop the charges telling a judge it only had “definitively circumstantial evidence."

Warth, now 25, sits in front of a piano at his parent’s house, reflecting on the impact of his arrest. 

“It was like someone taking a completely new unhappened life and throwing it into the garbage,” he said.

Warth and his attorneys, Reginald Winfrey and Kamau Mason, are speaking out to urge schools, police and the courts to examine how they treat those who behave differently than what society might consider the norm. 

Their message: being on the autism spectrum is not a crime.

“This case is centered and set on autism,” Mason said. “We needed to really explain to the courts what autism is and what autism isn’t. Because autism is not insanity. It’s not post-traumatic stress.”

Credit: WXIA

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