Threat suspect remains in jail

WHEELING – Federal Magistrate Judge James Seibert on Tuesday ordered that Ryan Kirker be detained without bond pending future proceedings, saying the McMechen man who allegedly mailed threatening letters to President Barack Obama would pose a danger if released from jail.

Kirker, 20, has been held in the Northern Regional Jail in Moundsville since being arrested last week. He wore an orange jail jumpsuit with his ankles shackled and his hands cuffed behind his back as U.S. marshals escorted him into Seibert’s courtroom.

Secret Service Special Agent Kenneth Skaggs testified that an anonymous letter was received in April at an off-site facility where all mail bound for the White House is examined. Forensic analysts used the indentations in the paper the letter was written on to match it to a second letter Kirker allegedly wrote in March to someone referred to only as John, Skaggs said.

Kirker tells John that he has a .30-06 semi-automatic rifle and can get armor-piercing ammunition, Skaggs testified. When John completes a court sentence, the letter states, the pair will travel to Washington, D.C., and kill the president.

The letter frequently refers to Obama, as well as his wife and daughters, using racial slurs. Kirker also allegedly threatened the lives of the first lady and the couple’s children. One letter allegedly authored by Kirker closes with the phrase “KKK forever.”

Also in his letter to John, Kirker mentions a June 2012 in-home interview with Skaggs about a second letter he allegedly sent to the White House. The letter allegedly invites the president to come to McMechen so the author “can have a shot” at him.

Kirker and his parents denied any knowledge of the letter or any affiliation with the KKK during the interview, Skaggs said. The agent also searched Kirker’s bedroom, but discovered no firearms.

Kirker suspected investigators found his father’s fingerprints on the anonymous letter he sent last year, he allegedly wrote to John. He believed they did not charge his father because he is battling lung cancer. Kirker stated he would use “clean paper” and wear gloves while writing letters in the future, Skaggs said.

Investigators have identified John but have yet to reach him, Skaggs said.

The letters have not been subjected to a formal handwriting analysis, but the writing styles and racially charged language are consistent throughout all three missives allegedly authored by Kirker, Skaggs said.

After hearing the agent’s testimony, Seibert ruled that while he is not a flight risk, Kirker would be a threat to the community and the Obamas if free. Kirker’s attorneys had requested the judge permit him to be placed on monitored home confinement.