Trial in online threat case delayed again

Print Article

The trial date has been delayed a second time for a Kalispell man accused of threatening local schools and religious leaders in online rants stretching from December 2014 to February 2015.

David Joseph Lenio, 28, originally had a November trial date pushed to January, but another extension of time has been granted, moving the trial to March 14 in Flathead District Court.

Lenio’s attorney requested the trial delay.

If convicted, Lenio faces up to 10 years in prison for felony intimidation charges after law enforcement arrested and questioned him following a series of Twitter rants found by a gun-control advocate online on Feb. 12, 2015.

One tweet written that day allegedly said: “I bet I could get at least 12 unarmed sitting ducks if I decided to go on a killing spree in a school. Sounds better than a slave wage.”

Two days later, in a long Twitter rant, he allegedly claimed:  “What do you think costs more in most U.S. cities? A gun with enough ammunition to kill 100 school kids or the security deposit on an apartment. ... What would I rather do? Be a #wage slave for the rest of my life or tell society f--- you & do your kids a favor by shooting up a #school?”

His vitriol was also directed at the Jewish community as he allegedly threatened to shoot Jewish rabbis in Kalispell.  

Lenio was arrested Feb. 16 as he returned home from skiing in Whitefish.

Later that day, law officers talked to Lenio’s roommate, who said that he had brought weapons and ammunition to the apartment. Deputies found a 9mm semi-automatic rifle and Russian-made bolt-action rifle in his bedroom, with ammunition in the bedroom and basement. A search of Lenio’s vehicle revealed a .32 caliber semi-automatic pistol, more ammunition, marijuana, a pipe and jugs of urine.

Lenio also was originally charged with criminal defamation, but that count was dismissed in September 2015 by Flathead District Judge Heidi Ulbricht, who said that state statute was too broad and some of Lenio’s remarks were constitutionally protected free speech.

Lenio was released in July to his parents’ custody in Michigan. In November the gun rights advocate who spotted his original tweets claimed that Lenio had broken conditions of his release 348 times by issuing more messages from his Twitter account. Lenio was not allowed to access social media as part of his release.

Kalispell Police Chief Roger Nasset said that his office gathered information about some suspected tweets in November.

“We found at least all of the tweets we could find, forwarded them to the county attorney’s office for review,” Nasset said. “We gave them the information to decipher whether further charges have occurred.”

As of Wednesday, there was not a warrant for Lenio to be taken back into custody.


Reporter Megan Strickland can be reached at 758-4459 or mstrickland@dailyinterlake.com. 

Print Article

Read More Local News

Whitefish Planning Board rejects Fresh Life project

January 19, 2018 at 12:36 pm | Daily Inter Lake After more than three hours of passionate testimony from both supporters and opponents, the Whitefish Planning Board on Thursday unanimously voted to recommend denial of a conditional-use permit soug...

Comments

Read More

Tester wants more border personnel

January 19, 2018 at 10:24 am | Daily Inter Lake Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., is co-sponsoring a bill to increase staffing at America’s border crossings. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, citing an internal workload model, claims that America’s po...

Comments

Read More

Fairgrounds growth spurs request for events coordinator

January 18, 2018 at 5:25 pm | Daily Inter Lake The Flathead County Fair Board has asked the county commissioners to consider hiring a full-time event coordinator to keep pace with a growing activity level at the county fairgrounds in Kalispell. ...

Comments

Read More

Woman charged in murder case accepts plea deal

January 18, 2018 at 1:15 pm | Daily Inter Lake Heather Meeker’s tampering with evidence charge in the murder of Anthony Andrew Walthers was dropped in Flathead District Court on Thursday and she was released from custody. Meeker’s release was th...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 755-7000
727 East Idaho
Kalispell, MT 59901

©2018 Daily Inter Lake Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X