A Medford man convicted of using social media to threaten the lives of President Obama and federal officers won't be assigned to a federal halfway house while awaiting his March sentencing because he remains a public threat, according to a federal judge.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark D. Clarke told 62-year-old John Martin Roos Monday, "I can't come up with any conditions that satisfy me" that Roos would not be a public threat if released from the Jackson County Jail while awaiting his March 16 sentencing to a federal prison term of up to 10 years.
Defense attorney Brian Butler had requested that Roos be released to a federal residential re-entry center so he can get treatment for use of unspecified illegal drugs instead of waiting to get treatment at a federal prison after sentencing.
Although saying he agreed that Roos needed drug treatment, U.S. Attorney William Fitzgerald told Clarke that the combination of the death threats and his guilty plea for possessing illegal explosives render Roos unfit for release pending sentencing.
"At this point, the government continues to have major concerns about the risk to the community at large," Fitzgerald said in court via a speaker phone.
Roos has been in the Jackson County Jail without bail since April 28 on charges alleging he posted threats against the president on Twitter in mid-March under the handle @indnjohnpatriot and on Facebook.
Roos posted additional threats against President Obama March 19, March 25 and March 26, a court indictment stated.
Federal officials arrested Roos April 28 outside the Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center and Clinics in White City. Officers found a loaded semi-automatic pistol under the driver-side floor mat of his van, and a search of Roos' apartment uncovered more guns and several pipe bombs.
Roos had claimed the postings were a means by which he "blows off steam" and that he would never follow through with the threats, according to court documents.
Roos pleaded guilty Nov. 7 to separate federal charges of threatening the President of the United States, threatening federal law-enforcement officers and possession of an unregistered destructive device.
Conviction on a charge of threatening the president carries a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison, while the other two charges each carry maximum sentences of 10 years upon conviction, court records show.
— Reach Mail Tribune reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MTwriterFreeman.