(Reuters) - A federal judge on Wednesday ruled that an Ohio bartender is competent to stand trial on a charge that he threatened to kill U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner.
Michael R. Hoyt was indicted in January for allegedly threatening to murder a U.S. official. He is suspected of wanting to poison Boehner and threatening to shoot the Republican politician who represents a district north of Cincinnati, Ohio.
Hoyt pleaded not guilty and his defense attorney indicated he would file notice of an insanity defense, according to court records.
U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Black said in a one-page written ruling that Hoyt was competent to stand trial.
Hoyt "is currently not suffering from a mental disease or defect rendering him mentally incompetent to the extent that he is unable to understand the nature and consequences of the proceedings against him or to assist properly in his defense," Black said.
According to a criminal complaint, Hoyt dialed 911 on Oct. 29, gave the operator his first name and asked that his father be told he was sorry.
When a police officer went to his home to check on him, Hoyt told the officer he had been fired from a West Chester, Ohio, country club where Boehner is a member and did not have time to put something into Boehner's drink, the complaint said.
The day before police questioned him, Hoyt said in an email to Boehner's wife he wanted to meet with Boehner about his firing and that if had he intended to hurt Boehner, he could have poisoned his wine at the club many times, the complaint said.
Hoyt told police he was Jesus Christ and wanted to kill Boehner because the speaker had been mean to him at the country club and was responsible for the Ebola virus, the complaint said. He also told police he owned a handgun and planned to shoot Boehner.
After talking with police, Hoyt voluntarily checked into a hospital for a psychiatric test and police recovered a handgun.
Hoyt told FBI agents during an interview in a hospital psychiatric ward that he had experienced a mental health episode about two years before but had stopped taking his medication after about six months, the complaint said.
(Reporting by David Bailey in Minneapolis; Editing by Bill Trott)