UPDATE: A not guilty plea was entered on behalf of Robert Ray Locke this afternoon.
Superior Court Commissioner Patrick Oishi set bail at $500,000 at the request of Prosecuting Attorney Mark Lindquist, who handled Locke’s arraignment.
Lindquist called the threats “violent and disturbing.”
According to charging papers, Locke posted the threatening comments on the governor’s website. One said he wished one of her relatives would be raped and murdered. Another said she should “be burned at the stake like any heretic.”
Locke later told investigators he is mad at the Gregoire because in 1999, when she was attorney general, she failed to help him recover some unpaid wages. He also said he was upset because some state benefits he receives are set to be reduced, according to the charging papers.
There was nothing mentioned in the charging documents suggesting Locke had taken any action to follow through on the comments.
Lindquist said outside court that threatening the governor is a bad idea at any time but particularly in light of the assassination attempt on an Arizona congresswoman earlier this month.
“It’s something we take very seriously,” he said.
Locke apologized to investigators and said he only intended to “give her a piece of my mind,” court records show.
Public defender Lisa Contris asked Oishi to release Locke on his own recognizance. He has no criminal record, Contris said.
“There’s nothing to indicate he won’t appear at his next court date,” she said.
Oishi sided with Lindquist. He also ordered Locke to have “no contact, absolutely no contact with the governor, her staff or her family.” Oishi also ordered Locke to stay at least 1,000 feet away from the state Capitol and the governor’s mansion.
PREVIOUS POST: Washington State Patrol detectives have arrested a Graham-area man for allegedly making a threats against Governor Chris Gregoire over the internet.
The threat arrived at the governor’s office about 6:15 a.m. Tuesday, according to a press release from the State Patrol. It took detectives only about six hours to trace the threat and arrest a suspect.
The 51-year-old man was taken into custody at 2:30 p.m. while walking along 200th Street East in Pierce County, the State Patrol said. Detectives had first responded to his home and then began a search of the area. The arrest took place without incident.
He was booked into the Pierce County Jail on one count of making threats against the governor or the governor’s family, a class C felony. He is scheduled to appear in Pierce County Superior Court this afternoon.