An Army veteran from Utah accused of assaulting police on the frontlines of the Capitol insurrection will remain in jail, after he threatened to "eat the flesh" of a probation officer "for nutrients."
Federal prosecutors brought up the threat made by Landon Copeland during a hearing Friday about whether he should be released pending trial. They told U.S. District Judge Robin Meriweather that Copeland was previously on pretrial release for "all of two days" before making the threat, which led to him being re-arrested.
"I will eat your flesh for nutrients. You don't know what I am," Copeland told the probation officer, according to a motion from prosecutors seeking to keep him detained.
Just before making the threat, Copeland screamed at a judge and court officials during an off-the-rails Zoom hearing on May 6. He texted his probation officer from the hearing saying, "Tell them I want to speak, or I will die for it!"
Copeland then drove to probation services where he spoke to the officer through a glass partition, according to the motion, "ranting about government conspiracies" and claiming "the government was out to get him."
"At times, he banged his head against the glass and pressed his face against the glass. He told the (probation officer) that 'If I was on the other side of this glass, 'I would eat you from the inside out because I am starving,' and went on to say 'F*ck all of you, and f*ck every single one of you,'" the motion states.
Copeland later said he became enraged during the May hearing when an attorney for another Jan. 6 defendant said his client had become addicted to Fox News and suffered from "Foxitis."
Copeland said the attorney's comment was "spitting in the face of the 258 million people that tune in to the Tucker Carlson show," complaining that he was "allowed to lambaste all of Fox News' viewers without objection from the judge or any of the other attorneys present," according to the motion.
Prosecutors also said during Friday's hearing that if Copeland is released pending trial and placed on home confinement, it would require multiple agents to conduct check-ins because law enforcement "is not welcome" in Hildale, Utah, where he lives, according to a report from WUSA9's Jordan Fischer. Hildale is home to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, led by jailed president Warren Jeffs.
Defense attorney Heather Shaner told the judge Friday that Copeland and his girlfriend recently had a child, which "increases his ties to the community and gives him further incentive to abide by release conditions."
Shaner also said Copeland "does renounce what he said, with regards to anything that could be interpreted as threatening or wanting violence."has said that former president Donald Trump "invited" him to be there — and that he would "willingly do it again."
Judge Meriweather concluded Friday that "if she only had the January 6 conduct to consider, 'I might not find the threat to be as substantial as I do,'" according to Fischer's report.
"But Mr. Copeland's conduct on the short time of his pretrial release speaks loudly," Meriweather said. "My concern is that it does appear mental health and substance use played a role in May 6... so I don't believe that stringent release conditions in this case would adequately ensure the safety of the community."
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