EUGENE – An Oregon man charged with making online threats to kill President Trump will undergo a mental competency evaluation before he returns to U.S. District Court in Eugene.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Jolie Russo issued the order Friday at the government’s request, the Register-Guard reported. Also Friday, the public defender for Thomas Murphy filed notice that his client might pursue an insanity defense.
Murphy, 36, of Springfield was arrested Feb. 16 after federal agents tied four threatening messages to his social media accounts. He faces charges of making threats against the president and successors to the presidency and using interstate communications to make a threat.
In a prior case, Murphy was found guilty by reason of insanity after attacking two women with a garden pick and a sledgehammer in 2014. He was released from the state mental hospital last March.
In court Friday, Murphy initially appeared confused, asking U.S. marshals if his mother had made it to the hearing, the newspaper reported. She had not.
The threats included a Twitter post on Jan. 10 that suggested “Donald J. Trump will be terminated on March 7, 2018 by my hand. Lucifer,” according to a complaint by the U.S. Secret Service. Three days later, the same Twitter account posted a threat against Secret Service agents. The other threats were made through a Google Plus account.
Springfield police visited Murphy’s house several times after his release from the mental hospital, including for a family dispute three days before his arrest. Officers also investigated a report made by a postal carrier who had reported feeling threatened by Murphy, police said.
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