Presidential Threat Case Dismissed

Prosecutors Cite Mental Issues With Defendant

Posted: October 19, 2013

HARRISONBURG — Federal prosecutors dismissed charges Thursday against a man accused of threatening to kill President Barack Obama.


Christopher R. Hecker, 42, has had a history of mental issues, according to court documents.


“While the parties may differ as to whether the evidence is sufficient to support a conviction, they do agree that the evidence should be considered in the context of the defendant’s mental health at the time which led to an initial finding of mental incompetency,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald Huber wrote in his motion to dismiss the case.


Federal agents filed a criminal complaint on May 4, 2012, in U.S. District Court in Harrisonburg against Hecker, whose last known address was outside Philadelphia.


He was arrested a day earlier in Waynesboro after police determined he had been using a computer at the Waynesboro Public Library.


The affidavit for the complaint states that on April 19, 2012, Hecker sent an email to WVTF Public Radio in Roanoke with a subject line saying, “I am going to kill the President of the United States.” The body of the email stated: “And I put a bomb in your office building.”


He also sent additional emails to Turner Corp., the parent company of CNN.


In one of the emails, he made comments about the president: “He is the one that is destroying patriotism in the U.S.A. Ted Nugent is right. So, Obama is allowing me to be tortured to the point that I may murder someone, rather than deal with the mess he made. Your president is a coward.”


On July 27, 2012, a federal judge determined he was not competent to stand trial. Hecker was later determined competent but prosecutors say it’s best to drop the case.


“Since placed on bond, the defendant has been fully compliant with each of the conditions of his release,” Huber wrote. “[He’s] restored to his medication and this regiment is being closely monitored.”


Contact Pete DeLea at 574-6278 or

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