Man threatens President Obama

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BRATTLEBORO -- A 43-year-old Vermont man who threatened to kill the president via his Twitter account and blog will receive a mental health evaluation Monday.

At a detention hearing Thursday, Christopher King, of Rockingham, was permitted temporary release to get an in-person mental health evaluation at the request of the defense.

King was indicted and pleaded innocent on one count of knowingly threatening to kill President Barack Obama, Wednesday, in U.S. District Court in Burlington.

On Aug. 21, King allegedly sent numerous tweets via his Twitter account, SmellyOlTerriss, which included threats to the president's life.

"I am dying inside. And I am plainly stating to you that I am going to kill the president."

Throughout the day he seems to have a conversation with himself through his tweets to the White House.

"When we kill presidents, what's it like? (Don't forget; still a question)," he tweeted.

In 2008, just seven days after the president was voted into office, the secret service reported that the president had received 500 death threats leading up to his election.

Since Obama took office, the rate of threats against him has increased 400 percent from the nearly 3,000 a year President George W. Bush received, according to Ronald Kessler, author of "In the President's Secret Service."

The Secret Service has looked into a number of race-based threats since Obama took office, and a Facebook poll that asked "Should Obama be killed?"

President Obama also had a Secret Service detail 18 months prior to the election, the earliest of a presidential candidate.

Although King may not be able to accomplish what his alleged tweets describe, Assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara Masterson said he's still dangerous and needs help.

On his blog, King describes himself as "America's senior comedian." Whether he's joking or not, the prosecution is taking his threats very seriously.

"I hope he gets the help he needs," Masterson said.

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In a motion to detain King, Masterson wrote that, "Uttering threats to kill the president of the United States indicates a willingness to resort to violence to accomplish his goals, regardless of whether he had the actual or intended ability to carry out the threats. It is inherently dangerous conduct."

In a phone interview, Masterson added that, "a hypothetical threat is conditional, an actual threat is one that's not conditional, there's no stated impediment to it being carried out."

King also sent numerous tweets to the State Department with messages like, "Hi. Just testing my new weapons system. I was lazily thinking about annihilating United States. What do you think?"

And later that day on Aug. 19, he offered to buy the president a beer, then 10 minutes later followed his tweet with, "Is there a bomb in the White House? That's not a statement; that's a question. I'm trying to learn law. I think that's okay."

Tweets from the account range from demands to what seems to be testing what he can get away with sending to the White House.

"If I do not receive a bouquet of flowers, I will end United States. (I may anyway. No promises)," and "I will not tolerate illegal aliens ruining my country," and "No federal or state law even theoretically touches me, or anyone under my protection. Pure idiots. Someone deserves a gold star."

The morning of Saturday, Aug. 21 the tweets become more specific as to what King is allegedly going to do.

"Let's say that I fully intend to detonate the bombs I have placed in the White House. What time would I set the timer for?" and "So since I intend to kill the president, should I set the timer? Huh?"

Other posts on his blog and tweets describe his disdain for the tax system. According to an excerpt of King's blog that Masterson filed in court, he wrote earlier this month that he had been served with a notice of eviction, has refused to pay federal income taxes for 15 years and regards the president as "an illegal alien with his feet up on the desk in the Oval Office."

Masterson said a sheriff will padlock King's property in Rockingham on Oct. 18.

If convicted, King could get five years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines.

King's federal public defender, Steven Barth, was unavailable for comment.

King also allegedly sent the White House notice he had killed multiple people and had them in his home.

"I have bodies in my cellar. Stop me before I kill again."

Josh Stilts can be reached at jstilts@reformer.com, or 802-254-2311 ext. 273.


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