Court denies bail for St. Louis man suspected of threatening JCCs

Court denies bail for St. Louis man suspected of threatening JCCs

Juan Thompson would still be able to threaten Jewish institutions if released to house arrest, judge says

A federal judge denied bail on Monday to a St. Louis man suspected of making at least eight of the more than 100 recent hoax bomb threats against Jewish institutions across the US, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch daily reported.

US District Court Judge David Noce said that due to the “very serious” allegations against Juan Thompson, the suspect would remain in jail for the duration of the trial in order to ensure “he will not endanger the safety of any other person or the community.”

Lucile Liggett, the assistant federal public defender representing Thompson, requested at a hearing last week that Thompson be released under conditions of house arrest and GPS tracking to his mother’s and stepfather’s home in St. Louis, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

However, Noce rejected Liggett’s request, saying that although monitoring Thompson’s location using GPS might hinder his ability to flee, he would still be able to continue to threaten Jewish community centers while under house arrest.

This undated photo provided by the Warren County Sheriff's Department in Warrenton, Mo., shows Juan Thompson, of St. Louis. (Warren County Sheriff's Department via AP)
This undated photo provided by the Warren County Sheriff’s Department in Warrenton, Mo., shows Juan Thompson, of St. Louis. (Warren County Sheriff’s Department via AP)

Thompson is being charged with cyberstalking. The bomb threats he made against Jewish institutions across the US were allegedly part of a campaign to harass an ex-girlfriend, according to federal officials.

Federal authorities say Thompson started making his own threats on January 28 with an email to the Jewish History Museum in New York City written from an account that made it appear as if it was being sent by an ex-girlfriend.

“Juan Thompson put 2 bombs in the History Museum set to go off Sunday,” it said.

He followed that up with similar messages to a Jewish school in Farmington Hills, Michigan, and to a school and community center in Manhattan, authorities said.

In another round of emails and phone calls, he gave the woman’s name, rather than his own, the court complaint said. The Council on American-Islamic Relations received an anonymous email saying the woman put a bomb in a Dallas Jewish center.

Thompson appears to have first tweeted about his alleged involvement in an FBI investigation on February 10, telling followers that the “FBI is coming to interview me for some tweets,” followed by a post that read: “Can’t get over it: A white woman I used to date and love told the FBI that I hated white ppl and wanted to bomb them. Wow.”

Two weeks later, he wrote: “Know any good lawyers? Need to stop this nasty/racist #whitegirl I dated who sent a bomb threat in my name & wants me to be raped in jail.”

He later tweeted at the Secret Service, telling the agency that he “will not be silenced” and alleging that the ex-girlfriend, whom he names as Francesca, is “unstable and violent.”

Since the start of the year, more than 150 threats have been received by Jewish institutions in the US and Canada, according to the Secure Community Network, which coordinates security across Jewish organizations in North America.

The most recent wave of threats occurred on Sunday, when at least seven Jewish community centers in the US and Canada received bomb threats.

Last week, the head of New York City’s police intelligence John Miller said that investigators believe one man using a voice changer and phone spoofing device is behind a large number of the scores of threats made against US Jewish institutions this year.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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