NEW CASTLE, Ind. - A New Castle man faces charges in federal court for allegedly threatening to kill a United States congressman over his vote on an unemployment extension.
According to a criminal complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney's office on Friday, Brandon J. Thompson, 32, of New Castle, is accused of making several threats via e-mail and phone between the period of March 1 and May 6.
On March 31, FBI agents allege that Thompson sent a message to the office of Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) stating:
WELL YOU DRUNK JOHN BIN LADEN ITS TIME TO TAKE YOU OUT M---- F---- YOU WANT TO PLAY WITH 2.7 MLLION PEOPLES LIVES I AM GOING TO TAKE YOURS YOU WILL NEVER SEE IT COMING WITH MY SNIPER RIFLE WERE YOU SOON :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-)
Messages were also left on the voicemail of the personal cell phone of Boehner's wife on May 1 and May 6.
According to court documents, on May 1 Thompson left a voicemail saying, "I'm coming after your oompa loompa f----- husband. He shoulda… he shoulda extended unemployment insurance. "Now it's too late. Imma rip his f---- head off."
On May 6, investigators allege Thompson left a message saying, "You tell your husband to redo the unemployment extension because I'm going to come for him. I'm going to rip his f----- head off. He's not untouchable. I will get my hands on him."
In the criminal complaint, investigators note that Thompson had been receiving weekly unemployment checks of $341. Those benefits had ended on Jan. 11 of this year.
FBI agents said they believe Thompson used a neighbor's unsecured wireless Internet network to send the threatening e-mail.
That neighbor told authorities that Thompson had pulled a gun on a debt collector four years ago. Thompson had also had five protective orders filed against him, issued in 2001, 2002, 2005, 2008 and April 24, 2014.
A search warrant was executed on Thompson's residence on Thursday. During the course of their search, agents said Thompson admitted to them that he had sent the threatening messages to Boehner's office and his wife's cell phone.
U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett's office released a statement with the announcement of the charges.
"Free speech is the cornerstone of our democracy, but threats of violence have no place in our civil society," Hogsett said. "People who are inclined to make them need to know that they violate the law and they will be aggressively pursued.
Thompson had an initial appearance before a federal judge Friday morning.