A New York man upset about the outcome of his divorce proceedings 15 years ago allegedly threatened to kill judges and court employees in North Carolina.
Frederick Eli Knapp, 51, was indicted by a federal grand jury on Wednesday on charges of transmitting threatening communications in interstate commerce, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of North Carolina.
Knapp allegedly wrote threatening Facebook posts and sent emails to the North Carolina Judicial Branch as well as employees with the Administrative Office of the Courts. He reportedly stated that he would kill judges, court employees and people in court houses.
If convicted, Knapp faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and a term of supervised release following any detention.
Knapp’s anger at the North Carolina judicial system reportedly stemmed from the circumstances of his divorce there 15 years ago, according to the criminal complaint obtained by The Raleigh News & Observer.
“I have suffered through years of nightmares and hundreds of thousands of dollars in financial losses. All because you all are a bunch of f---ups. Just like the courts here,” Knapp reportedly wrote in the Facebook message to the North Carolina Judicial Branch. “And before I die I am going to make you all pay for your negligence.”
He also sent emails to two court employees on Nov. 17 with the subject line “You all suck at your jobs.”
The email allegedly blamed the court system for Knapp losing his house and included a threat to kill courthouse employees and judges.
A different email sent to a third employee on the same day included similar threats, according to the complaint.
“I want my money, don’t make me come down there and get it,” it read.
The court employees notified their superiors, describing the email as the “most extreme direct-threat email” they have ever received.
An analyst with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation discovered the message was coming from out of state. New York police tracked down Knapp on Nov. 21.
“During that conversation, Knapp stated to the investigator that he was ‘upset’ because 15 years ago his wife divorced him while they were living in the state of North Carolina,” the complaint obtained by the outlet states.
He reportedly explained to investigators that he felt the court system was “unfair to him during that time.”
Knapp allegedly continued to make threats that same day, contacting the Raleigh Police Department and calling officers “lazy” and “good for nothing.”
The News & Observer reported that Knapp is currently undergoing an “involuntary mental health evaluation.”