A federal judge on Friday ordered a Bangor woman accused of threatening to kill and decapitate U.S. Sen. Susan Collins in phone messages to undergo a psychiatric exam to determine if she is competent to assist in her defense.
Katrina F. Preble, 56, was arrested Monday and charged with two counts of making interstate threats because the server that stores the voicemails is not located in Maine, according to the affidavit.
Preble made her first appearance Friday before U.S. Magistrate Judge John Nivison. He ordered that she be held without bail until the evaluation can be completed through the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.
Preble, who is not registered to vote in Bangor, allegedly left a series of voicemails on the senator’s office phones in Bangor and Washington, D.C., on Nov. 6 and 11.
Preble’s attorney, Federal Defender James Nixon, submitted the motion for a psychological evaluation after he interacted with her, the motion said. Her first appearance, scheduled for Wednesday morning, was canceled while Nixon prepared the motion.
Now that the judge has ordered the evaluation, the next step would be for Preble to be evaluated to determine if she has a mental illness and whether that makes her unable to assist in her defense. After that, Preble would undergo treatment in an attempt for her to become competent to assist in her own defense.
In previous cases, defendants have been taken out of state to hospital facilities operated by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to be evaluated. It was unclear Friday whether the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions would delay her evaluation or for how long.
The messages Preble left for the senator were described in the affidavit as “rambling and insulting.” Preble allegedly threatened to kill the senator at least three times in those messages and said, “I’m going to shoot you in the [expletive] face.”
FBI agents interviewed Preble the afternoon of Nov. 6. She is described in the affidavit as “hostile and generally uncooperative” during the interview but denied she was a threat to Collins.
“Ms. Preble stated that Sen. Collins had threatened her life,” the affidavit, signed by Special Agent Michael Verhar, said. “Ms. Preble said she was not a threat to Sen. Collins but she had the right to tell Sen. Collins that she would defend herself with deadly force.”
Preble was not arrested on Nov. 6.
Less than a week later on Nov. 11, Preble allegedly left six similar voicemails at the senator’s Washington, D.C., office. In one, Preble stated: “We the people are going to put you in front of firing squads,” the affidavit said. “Stretch you by the neck. Decapitate you.”
If convicted, Preble faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.