Jake LaTurner and Chase Neill (inset). Images via YouTube and Shawnee County Kansas jail.
THERE’S a lot to dislike about LaTurner. The Republican regularly trumpets his Catholic faith and rejoiced when Roe v Wade was overturned.
That, of course, does not justify him getting death threats—something that happened last June when he received threatening voicemails at his Topeka office from Chase Neill, 32, who said “I will kill you.”
It wasn’t LaTurner’s anti-abortion stance that motivated the death threats. Instead, according to Neill, it was LaTurner’s lack of concern regarding “magic, wizards, extraterrestrials and a war for people’s souls.”
This fact emerged when Neill was put on trial this month, charged with one count of threatening a US government official.
During the proceeding he told a federal court jury that he was simply passing on a message from God.
Would a “loving” god issue death threats?
According to the Bible he most certainly would.
According to this blog post there are numerous “crimes” for which God, through the Law of Moses, requires the death penalty.
Among these are sacrificing to a god other than Yahweh (Exodus 22:20), persistent rebelliousness on the part of a child (Deuteronomy 21:18–21), a child who hits or curses his or her parents (Exodus 21:15 and 17), working on the Sabbath (Exodus 35:2), premarital sexual intercourse (Deuteronomy 22:13–21), and the requirement for a priest to burn his daughter alive if she became a prostitute (Leviticus 21:9).
On Thursday, January 19, the jury found Neill guilty, and he will be sentenced by judge Holly Teeter on April 11.
He could be sentenced to ten years in jail and a $250,000 fine.
Federal prosecutors said Neill was fixated on LaTurner, who testified that he worried about his family’s and staff’s safety and beefed up security at his home and Topeka office.
Federal prosecutor Stephen Hunting said in his closing remarks.
Presiding judge Teeter instructed jurors that to find Neill guilty, they had to conclude that a reasonable person would find that he had made a true threat and intended to either intimidate LaTurner or interfere with his work as a Republican congressman representing eastern Kansas.
Neill acted as his own attorney and testified that he was “a messenger from God.”
Neill admitted in court that he left a June 5 voicemail and others with more death threats the next day. But he said he was conveying a message from the Almighty.
This is not me saying, ‘I’m going to chase you down with a knife,’ or something like that.
His mother, fighting back tears, told reporters upon leaving the courtroom, “He never raised a hand on anybody.”
Increase in death threats against US lawmakers and educators
Threats against members of Congress have increased since the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the US Capitol. In October, an intruder severely beat former US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer in their San Francisco home.
She subsequently had priests come to her San Francisco home to perform an “exorcism” after the attack, according to her daughter.
Local school board members and election workers across the nation also have endured harassment and threats.
On January 17 police in Albuquerque, New Mexico, arrested a failed Republican legislative candidate, Solomon Peña, over a series of shootings targeting elected Democratic officials’ homes or offices.
Hunting told jurors that it was reasonable for LaTurner and his staff to take Neill’s words seriously as threats.
LaTurner said in a statement after the verdict:
Violence and threats of violence have no place in our society.
Neill told jurors he values his soul and was required by God to act when he “heard the sound of the trumpet.”
He also showed jurors a LinkedIn page for himself, saying he dealt with:
Matters concerning over 400 million lives lost with high sorcery.
Neill testified that in 2018, “God came to me very directly,” without elaborating.
• Please help me keep The Angry Atheist going. You can support my work in three ways: via PayPal, Buy Me a Coffee or GofundMe.
If you spot any typos in this piece, please email me at email@example.com. Use this address to send me links to stories you believe would be a good fit for this site.
Leave a Reply