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Mother: Son’s Threatening Letter Was Attempt To Compete With Father

March 23, 1995

GREENSBURG, Pa. (AP) _ A teen-ager accused of threatening President Clinton may have been competing with his father, a convicted criminal, the boy’s mother said Wednesday.

Westmoreland County Common Pleas Judge Charles Marker will rule Monday whether to proceed with criminal charges against James Marvin Thomas, 17.

Thomas was arrested last month after authorities said he tried to send a letter to the White House threatening to kill the president and his family unless Clinton arranged the release from prison of mass-murderer Charles Manson and mob boss John Gotti.

The letter was intercepted Jan. 27 by officials at the Westmoreland County Juvenile Detention Center, where Thomas was being held for a previous offense.

His lawyer, public defender Mark Ramsier, claims the letter should be suppressed and the charges dismissed because Thomas’ letter was illegally confiscated by detention center workers.

Marker will decide whether to admit the document into evidence after weighing testimony from Wednesday’s day-long, closed hearing.

Thomas’ mother, Donna Spino, told reporters that she believed the letter was her son’s attempt to ``show his father that he can do more threatening things than his dad can.″

Thomas’ father, also named James Thomas, pleaded guilty in 1987 to murder conspiracy involving an official of the state Department of Environmental Resources.

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