An Army veteran from Utah who has been accused of assaulting police during the Capitol insurrection was refused bail after he threatened to “eat the flesh” of a probation officer.
Federal prosecutors revealed the threat made by Landon Copeland during a bail hearing on Friday 10 September. They told U.S. District Judge Meriweather that Copeland had been on pretrial release for “all of two days” before making the threat, resulting in him being re-arrested. According to a motion from prosecutors seeking to keep him detained, Copeland told the probation officer,
“I will eat your flesh for nutrients. I don’t think you don’t know what I am”
Copeland later stated “I was well within my First Amendment rights in speaking to him the way I did.” At a Zoom hearing on May 6, Copeland had shouted at a judge and court officials. He then drove to probation services where he spoke to the officer through a glass partition. According to the detention memorandum (page 7), he was “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.”
Copeland said he was furious because, during the May hearing, an attorney for another 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 lambast all of Fox News’ viewers without objection from the judge or any of the other attorneys present.”
Prosecutors also said during Friday’s hearing that if Copeland is released pending trial and placed on home confinement, multiple agents would be required 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.
Copeland’s Defense attorney told the judge Friday that Copeland would abide by release conditions as he had a child, and that he “does renounce what he said, with regards to anything that could be interpreted as threatening or wanting violence.” However, prosecutors countered that Copeland “renounced nothing” during two recent interviews with the media, but “he has a reason for saying something differently today.”
With regard to the insurrection, Copeland 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. But Mr. Copeland’s conduct on the short time of his pretrial release speaks loudly. 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.”
Enquiries have not established what or whom Mr Copeland is eating in jail.