Maryland man Indicted for threatening to kill Congresswoman Frederica Wilson

News Release, US States Attorney’s Office-District of Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland – A federal grand jury has indicted Darryl Albert Varnum, age 42, of Westminster, Maryland, on the federal charge of threatening a federal official.  The indictment was returned on July 17, 2019, and Varnum will have his arraignment and detention hearing on August 5, 2019, in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur and Chief Steven A. Sund of the U.S. Capitol Police.

United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur stated, “We take these types of violent threats extremely seriously.  The investigation began immediately upon learning of the threats.  Mr. Varnum was charged federally by criminal complaint and arrested on July 8th.”

According to the one-count indictment, on June 26, 2019, Varnum allegedly threatened to murder a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, with intent to impede, intimidate, and retaliate against that person on account of the performance of that person’s duties as a member of U.S. House of Representatives.

According to the complaint, the voicemail was left at the congresswoman’s Florida office. And Varnum’s tirade centered on The Vaccinate All Children Act, legislation introduced by Wilson in May. The bill would require all public schools to vaccinate all their students in order to receive any federal funding. It exempts from the requirement of any student whose doctor certifies that vaccination might endanger the child’s health.

“I’m gonna kill your ass if you do that bill. I swear,” Varnum’s voicemail began. “I will f****** come down and kill your f******* ass. And you’re a Congressperson, that’s fine. I hope the f******* FBI, CIA and everybody else hears this shit.”

“This is the United States of America, bitch. Get the f*** out,” the voicemail continued. “I’ll tell you what I’ll come down to Miami bitch. I’ll f*** you up. Like the Cubans don’t even know.” (…)

On his Facebook page(now deleted), Varnum compared The Vaccinate All Children Act to the Holocaust—a common trope used by vaccine skeptics. “I’m done with this bullshit. Time to step up or ship out,” he wrote. In a comment on that post, Varnum added, “All of our guns are next. Been trying for years!”

Varnum was arrested on July 8, 2019, on a federal criminal complaint.  On July 10, 2019, U.S. Magistrate Judge Beth P. Gesner ordered that Varnum complete a 28-day inpatient program at the Shoemaker Center in Sykesville, Maryland, and return to the court at the conclusion of the program.

If convicted, Varnum faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison. 

An indictment is not a finding of guilt.  An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings. 

United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the U.S. Capitol Police for its work in the investigation.  Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathleen O. Gavin, who is prosecuting the case.

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