April 30, 2013

Man arrested for threatening to kill local law officials

The Express-Star

CHICKASHA — A Chickasha man was arrested last night for threatening to kill a district court judge, three district prosecutors, and any law enforcement officials that crossed his path.

The names of the judge and three prosecutors that were working a DUI case against the man, 48-year-old James Edward Wilson, have not been released. Wilson is currently in Grady County Jail and will be formally charged tomorrow with one count of threatening violent crime, a felony that carries up to 10-years in state penitentiary, District Attorney Jason Hicks said.

“We took the threat as something viable; it was real, and something that needed to be taken care of immediately,” Hicks said. “It was a tip from a local citizen that put the operation in effect to get him off of the streets.”

Hicks said the threat was made within the last 48 hours. Wilson does have prior convictions in the county, including four counts of making threatening phone calls back in 2003 and felony convictions. The judge he allegedly made the threat against, unlike the prosecutors, was not involved on his pending DUI charge, which stems from a February incident.

With the recent slayings of an assistant district attorney and a district attorney and his wife in Kauffman County, Texas, Hicks said extra urgency was given to the threat.

“It’s one of those things we’re not going to take a chance on,” Hicks said. “We’re under attack all of the time, so yes we did take those things into account. As long as I am a DA in this county, if I have the ability to prevent law enforcement officials from being hurt, I will do it.”

Sunday night, officers were called to Wilson’s residence at 115 W. Orchard Drive where he lived with his mother after she called for a general welfare check. Upon arriving, officers knocked on the door, did not receive any response, and left the scene. Hicks said officials later learned that Wilson was at the door with a gun – believed to be a Kel Tec 380 – ready to fire upon the officers if they entered the house.

“He just stood at the door and waited and apparently told [his mother] that if they came in, he was going to shoot them,” Grady County Sheriff Jim Weir said. “When no one responded to their knocking, they just left.”

An anonymous tip then came in Monday afternoon describing that a threat against officials had been made.

“The threat was made in the presence of the person that gave us the information,” Hicks said. “The person specifically heard him talking about it and making plans to execute this threat.”

After taking down information, officials went to work to evaluate the threat and take necessary action.

“It worked like clockwork [Monday] night,” Weir said. “DA’s task force typed up the warrant and officers were able to enter the house and arrest the individual without incident.”

When officers entered Wilson’s residence, ammunition was found but the suspect had no gun.

In a press conference on Tuesday, law enforcement officials in the county and city stated their intent to revive the Crime Stoppers, an organization that is dedicated to providing tips to help solve crime so individuals do not have to go directly to police.

“I think this emphasizes the need for Crime Stoppers in this county, because without the information we got yesterday afternoon, I don’t know that this press conference would have been about us taking someone into custody for violent crime. We probably would’ve been talking about someone being shot.”