ROCKLAND, Maine — Federal prosecutors are expected to take over the case of a 42-year-old Illinois man who police say threatened to come to Maine and kill the family of a woman who had fled their abusive relationship.

William McBroom-Stees has been held at the Knox County Jail in Rockland since he was brought to Maine following his arrest in November. He has been unable to raise $100,000 cash bail.

A hearing was held Monday in Knox County Superior Court on a request by McBroom-Stees to get a new attorney. Justice Jeffrey Hjelm agreed to allow the defendant to get a new attorney because his current attorney — Roger Hurley — is not licensed to practice in federal court.

Assistant District Attorney Christopher Fernald told Hjelm that he has been in contact with an assistant U.S. Attorney who said that his office expects to present the case to a federal grand jury.

Fernald also told the court that McBroom-Stees had contacted him by phone from jail and said he wanted to plead guilty to the state charges. Fernald said he informed the defendant that he could not talk with him because he has an attorney.

McBroom-Stees, 42, was arrested Nov. 22 after being located by police in Missouri and charged with felony domestic violence terrorizing and domestic violence stalking. His arrest followed an investigation by members of the Knox County Sheriff’s Office and the Rockland Police Department.

The woman, fearful for her safety and that of her family, fled the couple’s home in Tampico, Ill., and came to the Rockland area to be with family, according to police records. She told the Knox County detective that she fled because of the man’s abuse and said he was out of control on drugs.

On Nov. 13, the woman reported to the Knox County Sheriff’s Office that McBroom-Stees had telephoned her and said he knew where the woman’s mother and sister lived and threatened to come to Maine to kill them. Later in the day, the woman returned to the sheriff’s office to report that McBroom-Stees had telephoned her again and threatened to kill her father in California.

McBroom-Stees called seven times while the woman was being interviewed at the sheriff’s office and the calls were recorded.

The affidavit included statements made by McBroom-Stees during those phone calls. At one point, he told the woman to choose which of her family members he would kill.

“I’m taking your family heads or tails,” McBroom-Stees said, according to the affidavit.

He also said he did not care if he was killed but said he would not be going to prison but instead would end up in a “nut house.”

“If you are not here on the 23rd, I feel sorry for your family. I am going to start the worst bloodbath in America. Anybody with the [woman’s last name] is mine,” he stated, according to the affidavit.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence and would like to talk with an advocate, call 866-834-4357, TRS 800-787-3224. This free, confidential service is available 24/7 and is accessible from anywhere in Maine.