TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A federal court jury convicted a Kansas man who insisted that a death threat he made against U.S. Rep. Jake LaTurner was a message from God, amid what authorities have said is a sharp rise in threats against members of Congress and their families.
Jurors found Chase Neill, 32, of Lawrence, guilty of a single count of threatening a U.S. government official. The presiding judge instructed jurors that to find Neill guilty, they had to conclude that a reasonable person would find that he had made a true threat and intended to either intimidate LaTurner or interfere with his work as a Republican congressman representing eastern Kansas.
Neill acted as his own attorney and cross-examined LaTurner on the witness stand Wednesday. Neill testified Thursday that he was a messenger from God and he passed along a message from God threatening LaTurner for ignoring concerns about sorcery, wizards, extraterrestrials and a war for people’s souls.