AP NEWS

Man accused of threatening president ruled incompetent to stand trial

October 12, 2018

During a brief court appearance Wednesday afternoon, U.S. District Judge Rolando Olvera ordered a man who is accused of threatening to kill President Donald Trump to four months in a facility for mental health treatment.

The Secret Service arrested Steven Joseph Christopher, 51, who believes is the reincarnation of Jesus Christ, on Aug. 8 on the charge.

Christopher, who did not speak during the hearing, was found mentally incompetent to stand trial or assist his defense attorney after a psychological examination, which is sealed.

The man has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

During an earlier court hearing, Christopher requested a presidential pardon.

His defense attorney, Nat C. Perez, said in a motion to determine competency that Christopher appears to have a psychological illness and appears to be suffering from a mental disease and is unable to understand the proceedings.

“ More specifically, defendant appears delusional and paranoid to the extent that he cannot communicate with his attorney. Defendant claims to be the reincarnation of Jesus Christ,” the motion states.

During the previous hearing where Christopher asked for a pardon, Perez said that he suffered a traumatic accident in 2017.

Perez had asked U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald Morgan to allow Christopher a chance at bond so he could live with his mother, adding that he may have the ability to afford psychological help.

Morgan, however, ruled Christopher should be held without bond citing the man’s criminal history, which includes a 2009 conviction for threatening a past president.

According to a 2009 Reuters story, the Justice Department arrested Christopher for threatening to kill then President-elect Barack Obama based on statements he posted on a website about UFOs and aliens.

Federal jail records show Christopher was released from prison after serving time for that charge on Sept. 23, 2011.

mreagan@brownsvilleherald.com

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