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July 27th, 2007 @ 5:59pm
Ashley Hayes Reporting
A man accused of making bomb threats at Hill Air Force Base was in court today to learn if he gets to go home.
William Stiffler’s threats forced the evacuation of several buildings on the base, and he also threatened to take hostages in Idaho.
William Stiffler appeared before a federal court judge to see whether he’ll stay in jail before a grand jury hears his case.
The judge ordered William Stiffler to stay in the Weber County Jail for the time being.
The assistant U.S. attorney prosecuting the case argued Stiffler is a danger to the community, and because he lives in Idaho is a risk for not appearing for future court dates. Assistant U.S. Attorney Carlos Esqueda said, “He claimed he placed three bombs on Hill Air Force Base. We’re going to take those threats seriously, and because of the threats and because of the circumstances behind the threats, he poses a danger to the community and should be detained, and the judge found so.”
The judge also ordered Stiffler receive his prescribed antidepressant medication while he’s in jail.
Stiffler’s lawyer, Bob Steele, says he doesn’t believe his client is violent but is mentally ill. Steele said, “There’s a long history of stresses, like many families suffer. And he has a history of mental health problems that he has addressed. That may be what happened to him. I don’t know the answer to that.”
Stiffler has no felonies, but his lawyer says he was convicted of violating a protective order not to contact his wife earlier this month.
Stiffler faces charges for making bomb threats to Hill Air Force Base and threatening to hold six people hostage in Idaho. A preliminary hearing is set for next week.
It was brought up in court there’s a stalking charge in Idaho that would result in a warrant for his arrest if he had been released here in Utah.
Stiffler has worked at Hill for 10 years on active Air Force duty and as a civilian. Steele said his client’s personal problems and the demand that troops be pulled from Iraq and Afghanistan were “incongruous.”
Stiffler lives in Clifton, Idaho, near the Utah border, and was arrested Tuesday in Malad, Idaho, as he prepared to board an employee shuttle bus.
Outside court, Steele said he plans to try to get Stiffler released pending further action in the case.
The maximum penalty for threatening to kill and injure people is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)