Politics

Man Who Threatened Taylor Held Because of ‘Ease’ of Getting Gun

Judge won’t release Wallace Godwin because he says it’s likely he could get another weapon

Wallace Goodwin is charged with threatening to assault and murder Virginia Rep. Scott Taylor. (Western Tidewater Regional Jail)

The Virginia man who was arrested for threatening to kill Rep. Scott Taylor and two of his staffers is being held in custody during his court procedures because he is a danger to the community, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Wallace Godwin, 69, receives treatment for dementia and another degenerative brain disease diagnosed in June, his defense attorney said Tuesday, according to The Virginian-Pilot. He has declined treatment for mental health disorders.

Godwin has a concealed-carry permit in Virginia, according to court documents.

All weapons have been removed from his home, the defense insisted, but Magistrate Judge Robert Krask said the ease of obtaining another firearm and Godwin’s concealed-carry license made it likely he could get his hands on another weapon.

Krask ordered that Godwin remain in custody.

“Before I walked in here today, I wrote down ‘escalating behavior’ on the paper,” Krask said, the newspaper reported. “I don’t think there are terms and conditions I can set to ensure safety.”

Godwin is being charged with threatening to murder and assault a U.S. official, a crime that carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison if convicted, Tracy Doherty-McCormick, acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Matthew R. Verderosa, the Capitol Police chief, announced Friday.

Godwin visited Taylor’s Virginia Beach office Thursday to discuss marijuana policy and after apparently becoming frustrated by the discussion with the congressman’s staff, according to the charging documents, said, “Scott is having an event this Saturday. I am going to get my shotgun and do something about this. I will just handle this myself.”

After making the threat against Taylor, the charging documents said Godwin pointed at two staffers in the room and said, “You two are next.”

This is not the first time Godwin has become angry with Taylor over marijuana policy. 

The congressman’s staff reported that in 2017 Godwin went to Taylor’s home, used his vehicle to block Taylor’s and waited for the congressman to come outside, the charging documents say. When Taylor emerged and asked Godwin to move his car, he got out and tried to talk to the congressman about his marijuana policy but left without incident when Taylor asked him to go.

Lindsey McPherson contributed to this report

Watch: ‘Vote Them Out:’ Thousands March on Washington to Protest Inaction on Gun Violence

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