A U.S. District Court jury has acquitted an Arcadia, Ohio, man of a charge of threatening a federal bankruptcy judge but convicted him of threats against his former attorney, Samuel Morrison.
Roger Tanner, 57, was arrested in December, three days after making telephone calls that led to the charges against him.
Tanner made statements in two calls answered by Jackie Brady, a secretary for Mr. Morrison, and a threat that was recorded on Mr. Morrison's voice-mail system.
Ms. Brady testified yesterday that she considered the threats serious enough that she made notes during each of the calls and then transcribed them into her computer. She said Tanner told her he was going to die soon, and “I might as well take somebody with me.” He also said: “I know where the judge lives,” according to her testimony.
Judge Richard Speer had dismissed Tanner's bankruptcy petition Nov. 15.
On Mr. Morrison's voice mail, Tanner said: “You better get something done, Sam. Patience is runnin' out.” He added: “Tell me when you're in town or else I'll find ya.”
Tanner also said: “You probably won't be too pleased to meet me.”
The bankruptcy petition had been filed in January, 2000, shortly before Tanner's property was to be sold at a Hancock County sheriff's auction. The bankruptcy filing caused the sale to be canceled. The sheriff's sale had been ordered in 1999 after Tanner balked at a judge's order to turn over a vintage race car he was hired to restore to its owner, Terry Freed, of Findlay.
When Mr. Freed went with a sheriff's deputy to pick up the car, it was in hundreds of pieces piled outside Tanner's shop. The body had been hammered, the frame cut apart with a torch, and the tires slashed.
Tanner was sentenced to 30 days in jail for contempt of court and ordered to pay Mr. Freed $26,956 to compensate him for the car.
Tanner, who is being held in the Lucas County jail, could be sentenced to five years in prison and fined up to $250,000.
Judge James Carr ordered that Tanner remain in custody, and he ordered a pre-sentence investigation.