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Man Accused of Sending Threat Letter to Governor
DES MOINES, Iowa - A man who claimed to have a "clear shot" at Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad faces federal charges, according to a federal court complaint unsealed on Monday.
KCCI learned that Jerry Springsteen, 47, from Fort Dodge, is accused of mailing a threatening, handwritten letter to Branstad's office in mid-October.
According to court records, Springsteen was arrested and made his initial court appearance on Monday in Des Moines.
The content of the letter cannot be published in its entirety due to profanity, but according to the complaint, part of it reads: "Old Man Now that you have figured out we are enemies and not allies I want you dead..." "...now that I'm out I got a clear shot at you on Terrace Hill! Ah HA Ha Ha!"
Staffers in Branstad's office opened the letter on Oct. 22 and turned it over to the Iowa State Patrol, according to the complaint.
On Oct. 24, after conversations among the Patrol, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, a postal inspector said he met with Springsteen at the Mental Health Institute in Independence, Iowa.
The inspector said that Springsteen admitted to writing the letter while undergoing treatment at the Mary Greeley Behavioral Health Unit in Ames.
According to the complaint, Springsteen told the investigator that his "intention was to intimidate Branstad and to get Branstad to listen to him."
When asked what he meant by saying he has a "clear shot" at Branstad, Springsteen said, according to the complaint, that there is a fire escape on the Meadow Gold Building near Fleur Drive and Grand Avenue where he could take a shot at Branstand with a rifle.
The postal inspector wrote that Springsteen has a criminal history including assault, assault with a weapon, operating while intoxicated, public intoxication and harassment.
According to the complaint, Springsteen was released from prison in September for the harassment conviction. He was convicted of threatening a Webster County, Iowa, judge.
Springsteen will be detained until his trial on this latest charge. A federal judge said, in part, "There is a serious risk that the Defendant will endanger the safety of another person or the community."