Meat cleaver threats suspect held without bail
A Spokane man accused of threatening to kill U.S. Senator Patty Murray will remain in jail without bail, a judge ruled Monday.
John Jay Sieler, 50, is diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolarity and had been involuntarily committed to a psychiatric ward before he drove past a political debate waiving a meat cleaver and shouting threats on Oct. 14, according to court testimony.
Sieler appeared in U.S. District Court Monday, where his lawyer, Jay McEntire, described him as a lifelong Spokane resident who owns a home and has worked at Dick’s Hamburgers for 29 years.
A 2006 court order prohibits Sieler from possessing firearms, but Sieler has admitted to having several in a storage unit in Spokane, prosecutors said.
U.S. Magistrate Cynthia Imbrogno ordered Sieler to stay in jail, citing his access to firearms, history of marijuana abuse and his need for a structured release plan.
Sieler was arrested last month outside KSPS studios, where Murray and Republican candidate Dino Rossi were scheduled to debate later that night. He is charged with threatening a federal official.