A Mississippi man is in jail after being charged with threatening to kill Republican Sen. Roger Wicker last week.
William C. Sappington is charged with threatening to injure or kill a United States official, a federal offense, according to court documents, and was ordered by a US magistrate judge to be held in jail pending trial during a Wednesday detention hearing.
The incident adds to recent concerns about threats of violence against elected and public officials.
The FBI said in court documents that Sappington had gone to the home of Wicker’s cousin in Hickory Flat, Mississippi, last Wednesday looking for the senator.
Wicker’s cousin, George, told an FBI agent that Sappington walked up to the back door of his house, asked for the senator and then said, “You tell him I’m going to kill him,” the documents show.
George Wicker asked Sappington why he was looking for the senator and he responded, “Because he knows,” according to the court records.
George Wicker then told Sappington he would try to reach the senator, but he instead called police, and officers soon arrived, the records state.
The next day, an FBI agent interviewed Sappington in jail and he denied ever stating he wanted to kill the senator, according to court records.
“Sappington told me that if he wanted to kill someone, he would just do it,” the FBI agent said in the court documents.
Attorneys for Sappington declined to comment.
The Associated Press first reported on Sappington’s arrest.
Court records show that Sappington was arrested in 2014 for aggravated assault against his brother.
The records state that Sappington had been trying to find an attorney “to get justice for his arrest that occurred in 2014” and that he felt he had been kidnapped by law enforcement, but he couldn’t find an attorney to take his case.
“Sappington felt that talking to the Senator that represents his area was his last course of action to get justice,” the FBI said in the court records.
Someone gave Sappington the address for the senator’s cousin, the FBI said.
“Sappington then explained to George Wicker that Roger Wicker could get the death penalty for conspiring to kidnap Sappington back in 2014,” according to the court records.
Court records show that in addition to having a prior criminal record, Sappington participated “in criminal activity while on probation, parole, or supervision” and that he has a “history of violence or use of weapons.”