Man accused of threatening U.S. House speaker found not guilty

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 13, 2015 5:00 PM

CINCINNATI (Reuters) - A former bartender from Ohio accused of threatening to kill U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner in October 2014 was found not guilty by reason of insanity on Monday by a federal judge.

Michael Hoyt was indicted in January on the charge of threatening to kill a U.S. official, and he opted to allow his guilt or innocence to be determined by U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Black in Cincinnati, rather than a jury.

Black, who in April had ruled Hoyt competent to stand trial, scheduled another court appearance for Aug. 21 to determine whether Hoyt should remain hospitalized.

Prosecutors accused Hoyt of wanting to poison Boehner and threatening to shoot the Republican politician who represents a district north of Cincinnati. He pleaded not guilty and his attorneys pursued an insanity defense.

According to a criminal complaint filed in November, Hoyt was fired the previous month from a West Chester, Ohio, country club where Boehner is a member and later sent the speaker's wife an email asking to meet with him.

Hoyt told police he owned a handgun and wanted to kill Boehner because the speaker had been mean to him at the club and because Boehner was responsible for the Ebola virus, the complaint said.

He checked into a hospital for a psychiatric test after talking with local police and while there told FBI agents he had experienced a mental health episode about two years before, the complaint said.

(Reporting by Ginny McCabe; Writing by David Bailey; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)