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HomeBreaking NewsTrial to open for man accused of threatening Kansas lawmaker

Trial to open for man accused of threatening Kansas lawmaker

'Quick read' news summary

TOPEKA, Kan. — A criminal trial was set to start Tuesday for a northeastern Kansas man who federal prosecutors say developed a fixation on U.S. Rep. Jake LaTurner and threatened to kill him, at a time when authorities have seen a sharp increase in threats to the nation’s lawmakers and their families.

Prosecutors say Chase Neill, 32, threatened to kill LaTurner in a June 5 voicemail message left at the Republican congressman’s office, then continued to make threatening calls the following day.

His federal trial on one count of threatening a public official was scheduled to begin Tuesday with jury selection, weeks after a judge concluded evidence of mental illness doesn’t mean Neill can’t help his attorney or follow what happens in court.

A pretrial report said Neill believes he is “the Messiah.” Prosecutors have said in court documents that Neill believes he was “obligated by God” to warn “certain public figures” and detail the results of not heeding his warnings.

U.S. District Judge Holly Teeter concluded during a hearing last month that “a preponderance of the evidence” showed Neill was mentally competent to stand trial. The official notes from the hearing showed Teeter relied on a psychological evaluation of Neill, but that document is sealed and closed to the public.

A magistrate who ordered Neill to remain in custody in June 2022 said he also had threatened other members of Congress. The others have not been named and Neill is charged only with threatening LaTurner.

LaTurner was a Kansas state

-- A criminal trial was set to start Tuesday for a northeastern Kansas man who federal prosecutors say developed a fixation on U.S. Rep. Prosecutors say Chase Neill, 32, threatened to kill LaTurner in a June 5 voicemail message left at the Republican congressman's office, then continued to make threatening calls the following day. The others have not been named and Neill is charged only with threatening LaTurner.

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