Hampden man pleads guilty to threatening to kill Obama while in jail

Leroy Dunn listens with his attorney Aaron Frey during his initial appearance on Friday, December 10, 2010.
Leroy Dunn listens with his attorney Aaron Frey during his initial appearance on Friday, December 10, 2010.
Posted April 25, 2012, at 10:21 a.m.
Last modified April 25, 2012, at 1:54 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A man serving a three-year sentence in state prison for drug trafficking pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court to a charge that he threatened to kill President Barack Obama.

Leroy Eugene Dunn, 30, of Hampden was indicted Jan. 12 by a federal grand jury for making threats against the president. He pleaded not guilty on Jan. 30.

By pleading guilty, Dunn admitted that in April 2011 he wrote: “I hate you and will do anything I can to get rid of you. You will die at my hands. I will kill you Barack Obama.”

A sentencing date will not be set until U.S. Probation and Pre-Trial Services conduct a presentence report.

U.S. District Judge John Woodcock, who accepted Dunn’s plea and will impose a sentence, said Wednesday that it would be helpful to him if Dunn were to be evaluated by a psychiatrist and physician employed by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.

The defendant suffers from Marfan syndrome, defense attorney Stephen Smith of Bangor told the judge Wednesday. Marfan syndrome is a disorder of the body’s connective tissues that can result in disproportionately long arms and legs, among other symptoms.

Dunn’s mother, Philomena Gordon of Bingham, has said her son is mentally disabled. She also has noted that he suffers from the effects of Marfan syndrome.

Gordon said her son stands 7 feet, 6 inches tall and weighs more than 300 pounds. She told the Lewiston Sun Journal earlier this year that Dunn should be under supervised medical and psychiatric care, not behind bars.

Dunn wrote the letter to Obama while housed at the Piscataquis County Jail in Dover-Foxcroft when the drug trafficking case in Penobscot County was pending, according to the prosecution’s version of events filed in federal court in Bangor.

Last fall, Dunn pleaded guilty in state court to threatening Gov. Paul LePage. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail to be served concurrently with a three-year sentence for drug trafficking.

He has been incarcerated at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham for about 1½ years on the drug charge, Smith told the judge Wednesday. Dunn most likely would not begin serving his federal sentence until he has served the state sentence.

Dunn isn’t the first inmate to be charged with threatening a president. Charles D. Miles, 32, of Skowhegan was sentenced in January 2007 to eight years in prison for threatening to kill two presidents, a governor, a federal judge and other public officials in letters penned over a four-year period.

Miles, who is due to be released from federal prison in November 2012, was committed to the former Augusta Mental Health Institute in 2000 after he was found not criminally responsible for setting the March 1999 fire that leveled the historic grandstand exhibition hall in Skowhegan. The fire caused $3 million in damage.

He is expected to be returned to Riverview Psychiatric Center, formerly AMHI, when he is released this fall.

Dunn faces up to five years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.

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