Bail denied for McKees Rocks man accused of threats against Obama, agents
By Brian Bowling
Published: Tuesday, May 14, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
A McKees Rocks man who repeatedly threatened President Obama and then threatened to kill the Secret Service agents investigating his threats will be held in jail until someone comes up with a better solution, a federal judge ruled Monday.
Jesse J. Almendarez, 34, has made at least five threats against Obama since 2011, posting some of them through the White House's website, FBI Special Agent Jeff Tisak said during Almendarez's detention hearing.
In December, Almendarez posted a message on a Veterans Affairs messaging system that said he wanted to kill special agents Christopher Watson and Bill Steen, he said.
In April, he called a Goodwill store seeking to buy a gun, Tisak said. Almendarez was arrested on Thursday.
U.S. Magistrate Lisa Pupo Lenihan said Almendarez's attempt to buy a gun was one of the reasons she could not allow him out on bail.
“I'm not a fan of incarcerating the mentally ill, but I don't have any alternative,” she said.
Assistant Federal Public Defender Marketa Sims said that Almendarez has been living in the community successfully since he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 2002 and schizoaffective disorder in 2011.
He completed a program at Mercy Behavioral Health and is scheduled to see a psychiatrist June 4, so locking him up would do more harm than good, Sims said.
“He's clearly suffering from psychiatric illness, but that solely is not a reason to detain him,” she said.
Lenihan said she would consider bail if Almendarez can be placed in an inpatient program where authorities would be alerted if he left the facility.
Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-325-4301 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Ex-Sandusky lawyer investigated in divorce case
- Parking tickets in Downtown Pittsburgh spark outrage
- Donor name to be stripped from Penn Hills library
- Allegheny County Democrats endorse several incumbents in primary
- Context key to 2nd trial of Pittsburgh police officers in Homewood man’s arrest
- Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh to hold annual public meeting March 26
- Western Pennsylvania organizations team to find housing for vets
- Postal Service pays $180K for unopened site
- FirstEnergy last to get smart meter OK
- Tax delinquents make impact in Western Pennsylvania
- Ailing Downtown August Wilson Center awaits rescue; no real estate offers yet