A judge on Friday ordered a US Capitol riot defendant to remain jailed in part because of a previous incident in which the defendant became so incensed by the suggestion that a person who took part in the January 6 attack had “Foxitis” that he allegedly threatened a probation officer.
The defendant, Landon Copeland, will be held in jail until he faces trial, federal magistrate Judge Robin Meriweather decided Friday. Prosecutors say that on January 6, Copeland stole a riot shield, turned a metal fence into a weapon and shoved other rioters into the police line. He hasn’t yet entered a plea to the four charges in that case.
Most of the more than 600 Capitol riot defendants are not being held in jail as they await trial. However, a few rioters have had their release conditions revoked because judges believe they pose a threat, including a former police officer who bought 37 guns after his arrest, and a New York man who called his probation officer’s mother.
Prosecutors say that Copeland had been released for just two days following his arrest in May when he stormed into a probation office in Utah.
Copeland disrupted a virtual court hearing for multiple defendants by lashing out over another defendant’s lawyer saying his client had “Foxitis” from watching right-wing media outlets. Court officials muted Copeland’s phone line.
That’s when Copeland called a probation officer and announced he was on his way because he wanted to be heard and would “die for it,” according to the officer who testified during the more than two-hour hearing Friday.
The probation officer put on body armor in anticipation of Copeland’s arrival. According to the officer, Copeland took his shirt off, pressed his head against the bulletproof glass separating them and said he would eat the officer if he were on the other side because he was “starving.”
After about 15 minutes, Copeland left, the officer said.
“Mr. Copeland’s conduct in the short time of his release speaks loudly,” Meriweather said at the hearing Friday. Meriweather added that “it does appear mental health and substance abuse is in fact a role” in Copeland’s outburst, and expressed concern that “something like that will happen when he is on his own” and not under jail supervision.
Once in jail, Copeland underwent a mental health evaluation and was deemed competent. Prosecutors noted that Copeland had been refusing mental health medication while in jail.
Copeland’s defense lawyers said the outburst was “clearly a mental health episode,” and that Copeland “does not want harm to come to anybody.”
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