CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Nathaniel Dunivin sat anxiously with his family in court Monday, as they waited for Judge Keith Hurley to call his case. Dunivin was charged with wearing a mask in public, a felony, and carrying a weapon near school property, a misdemeanor, following an October incident at a Chesterfield school bus stop at the Greenleigh Mobile Home Park.
Police arrested Dunivin after officers received a report that someone was wearing a clown costume and mask, holding a knife and chasing children from a school bus stop. Dunivin is a veteran who served in Afghanistan and suffers from PTSD, according to his mother. She said the whole incident was simply a Halloween prank.
"He said he wanted to get his sister from the bus like he did the previous year, wearing a gorilla costume," Dunivin's mother said in an interview following her son's arrest. "If they overkill with punishment, it just may kill him. He has taken two steps forward and now four steps back."
While the killer clown costume may have been a prank to Dunivin, not everyone at the school bus stop was laughing.
"It might not seem serious to a bunch of people but you can't say if you weren't there," student Connie Sandoval said following Monday's court hearing. "You don't know how it felt to be chased with a knife. Maybe you have seen it in movies, but when it happens to you in real life it is not a good feeling, it's really not."
In court Monday, the judge certified Dunivin's felony charge to the grand jury in January. Dunivin's misdemeanor charge was dismissed, but could be brought up again later. Dunivin will remain free on bond until his next court appearance in January.
Both Dunivin and his mother declined to comment as they left court Monday.