TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A man on trial for threatening to kill U.S. Rep. Jake LaTurner cross-examined the Kansas Republican on Wednesday in federal court, with the congressman rejecting the defendant’s suggestions that he was conveying a message from God.
LaTurner was the last prosecution witness in the trial of Chase Neill, 32, from the northeastern Kansas city of Lawrence. Prosecutors contend that Neill, who is representing himself in court, became fixated on LaTurner and then made his threat in a June 5 phone message left after hours at LaTurner’s office in Topeka.
The trial came amid what authorities say is a sharp rise in threats against the nation’s lawmakers over the past two years. LaTurner testified that he beefed up the security at his Topeka office and home in response to Neill’s message because he worried about the safety of his family and staff.