Court Security

Judge spots familiar face in court; man accused of threats to kill state and federal judges is held

Concerned about safety after he was told a convicted felon wanted for probation violation had threatened to kill him, a Minnesota judge pulled and studied the man’s mug shots and gave them to family members.

So when Peter Okezie Kalu walked into the 13th-floor courtoom of Ramsey County District Judge George Stephenson on Monday, the judge immediately recognized him, reports the Star-Tribune.

“I asked him to sit down, he walked out of the courtroom and I directed one of the deputies to bring him back inside,” recounted Stephenson the following day. Kalu, at that point, was facing a new charge of making terroristic threats.

Kalu was unarmed but carrying a black bag, the newspaper says. In it, a note allegedly stated: “Some idiot by the name of George T. Stephenson has signed out a warrant for my arrest. You have hurt me with no regards to my feelings. I will hurt you back. I will kill you. … I will gun you down in front of everybody before I turn myself [in] to the mental hospital.”

Originally convicted of mail theft by another judge, Kalu didn’t contact his probation officer as required and a warrant for his arrest was signed by Stephenson. A criminal complaint says Kalu told probation officials that he intended to kill both Stephenson, for signing the arrest warrant, and a federal judge who had recently denied him benefits, the Star-Tribune reports.

The article doesn’t include any comment from Kalu. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Wednesday.

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