James Dale Reed was captured in surveillance footage leaving a letter threatening the lives of then-Presidential candidate Joe Biden and then-Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris on the doorstep of a Frederick, Md., residence in the early hours of Oct. 4, 2020. Photo courtesy of U.S. Justice Department
June 23 (UPI) -- A Maryland man has pleaded guilty to a federal charge of threatening to execute President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris as well as their supporters during their presidential run last year.
James Dale Reed, 42, pleaded guilty in a Baltimore, Md., courtroom on Tuesday to the charge of making threats to a major candidate for president or vice president, for which he faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison, the Justice Department said in a release.
Reed was charged in a criminal complaint in October of last year for leaving a note on the doorstep of a Frederick residence threatening the lives of the then-Democratic candidates, their supporters and former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
The letter was left on the doorstep of a home with several signs in support of the Democratic candidates shortly before 4:30 a.m. on Oct. 4, 2020.
A copy of the handwritten letter included in the complaint warns supporters of Biden and Harris that they were being "targeted."
"We have a list of homes and addresses by your election signs," it said. "We are the ones with the scary guns, we are the ones your children have nightmares about. The Boogeymen coming in the night."
The short yet rambling letter then stated they will not give up their guns or "let Biden/Harris turn our country into a Communist Wasteland."
Reed then threatened to kill Giffords, who was shot in the head in 2011, over her support for restrictive gun laws. He then graphically wrote about executing Biden and Harris.
Police identified Reed as the suspect through video captured of the letter drop on the resident's doorbell surveillance camera, prosecutors said in the charging document.
During questioning with investigators later that month, Reed admitted to having written the letter on the evening of Oct. 3 "because he was upset at the political situation," the complaint said, adding that Reed told them he did not know the residents of the home where he left the letter.
Upon searching his home, investigators found a room "full of U.S. Army paraphernalia," including military-issued uniforms, helmets, plate carriers and bags and packs.
"The room resembled a U.S. military outpost bunker containing a voluminous supply of maps, books and documents related to military strategy and history," the Justice Department said.
Law enforcement seized an assortment of firearms, including a Smith & Wesson 9VE handgun, a JC Higgins 20-12 Gauge rifle, a .223 caliber Bushmaster XM15-E25 and a Hi Point 995 handgun along with eight cans of ammunition and a so-called military-style go-bag.
"Making threats against candidates and fellow citizens for their political beliefs undermines our democracy and will not be tolerated, said Acting U.S. Attorney Jonathan Lenzner.
Reed is scheduled to be sentenced July 27.