Crime

Kenneth Wheeler could get five years for Facebook threats after DUI bust

Kenneth Royal Wheeler was apparently under the illusion that he could post anything on Facebook, no matter how objectionable, as long as he was out of the country.

Not exactly. A jury in U.S. District Court has found Wheeler guilty in regard to Facebook threats targeting police officers related to a previous bust for driving under the influence. As a bonus, he not only targeted specific cops by name, but also their kids, who attended a local daycare.

Wheeler's message probably wasn't widely distributed: His page remains online, and it only shows sixteen friends. But he could get five years in prison anyhow.

Given that Wheeler's troubles with the law emanated from his Facebook page, it's genuinely surprising that a version remains accessible at this writing. Many of the posts are protected by a privacy setting, but there are photos aplenty, including this one showing him pretending to sleep through a class at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction....

...and this one, taken when he was considerably more alert: According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Wheeler, 32, first came to the attention of the local police department after cops received a tip about a post shared on his Facebook page. The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel's original article about Wheeler, published in March 2012, describes the item as "rambling" and "often nonsensical," and based on excerpts from the warrant issued in his name -- for instance, the introduction cited the "STARDRAGON celestial override contingency" -- that sounds about right. But underpinning the weirdness were violent statements.

Examples? Wheeler urged folks to go after "rapists, pedophiles and cops," writing, "kill them all. Hang em upside down set their face on fire and saw them in half."

The mention of cops wasn't a general one: He referenced three Grand Junction police officers by name, as well as a specific daycare center in central GJ. He suggested that his "followers" just "walk in and kill everybody. phug it. they want to play games lets play the game of life, where winners live and losers die."

Continue for more about the guilty verdict in the case of Kenneth Wheeler, including additional photos.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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