A South Los Angeles man is expected to plead guilty Monday to a federal charge alleging he made online threats to kill law enforcement personnel and others at the Inglewood Courthouse and elsewhere.
John Patrice Hale, 42, who used the online moniker "Frost K Blizzard," has agreed to plead guilty to a federal count of making threats to injure in interstate commerce, which means he used the internet in making the threats. The charge carries a possible sentence of up to five years behind bars when he is sentenced in Los Angeles federal court.
Hale allegedly made the threats using techniques such as Tor and proxy servers designed to make his internet posts anonymous, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
A 10-count indictment alleges that Hale sent the online threats over several days in May to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's court services division website. Although some of the threats invoked ISIS, authorities have not uncovered any evidence linking Hale to international terrorism, federal prosecutors said.
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According to the indictment, Hale threatened to set off explosives planted in sheriff's vehicles at the Inglewood courthouse. The threat prompted the evacuation of the courthouse, and both the LASD's Arson and Explosives Unit and the Threat Interdiction Unit responded.
Two similar threats were made on May 15, with the sender promising to "take out as many officers that pull out (of) your parking structure" and also threatening a nearby school, according to the document, which alleges that one of the threats read, "ISIS will have revenge today."
Two threats made a day later warned of explosives planted under a patrol car at the Inglewood sheriff's station, saying the impact would be felt for a "half city block," according to the indictment. The threats again prompted a significant response by law enforcement and evacuation of the Inglewood Courthouse.
In addition to those threats, Hale allegedly sent a threat to a private business through its website on May 23 that read: "All praises to Allah. Today, we will detonate an explosive at your La Brea and Arbor Vitae location if our needs aren't met by your company. ISIS," according to federal prosecutors.
Prosecutors also contend that on May 25, Hale submitted bogus information to the FBI's Tips and Public Leads web page, despite a warning that submitting a false tip could result in a fine and/or imprisonment.
Hale allegedly claimed on the site that he knew a man who "would supply ISIS with explosives even planting them for them," and who had received instructions from ISIS "to send Inglewood sheriff department bomb threats via email," according to the indictment.
The indictment, which was returned by a Los Angeles federal grand jury on Nov. 7, charges Hale with five counts of making false and misleading statements concerning terrorism, four counts of making threats to injure in interstate commerce and one count of making false statements to federal law enforcement.