CINCINNATI — House Speaker John Boehner returned to the Capitol on Wednesday without commenting to reporters after disclosures that a bartender at a country club near his Ohio home is charged with threatening to kill him, either with a gun or by poisoning his drink.
A grand jury indictment filed in U.S. District Court in Ohio on Jan. 7 identified the accused man as Cincinnati-area resident Michael R. Hoyt, who has a history of psychiatric illness. He was indicted on a charge of threatening to murder Boehner, according to court documents.
A spokesman for Boehner, Michael Steel, has said the speaker is aware of the situation and grateful to authorities.
A separate criminal complaint filed in November said Hoyt came to authorities’ attention when he called 911 on Oct. 29. Hoyt told the operator: “This is Mike. I messed up.” He then asked the operator to call his father and let him know he was OK and was sorry he had made mistakes.
When the operator asked for his location and how to reach his father, Hoyt provided his home address in Deer Park, but said his father is “everywhere.”
Hoyt told officers dispatched to his home that he had been fired from the West Chester, Ohio, country club where Boehner was a member and “did not have time to put something in John Boehner’s drink,” according to the complaint.
“Hoyt told the officer he was Jesus Christ and was going to kill Boehner because Boehner was mean to him at the country club and because Boehner is responsible for Ebola,” the documents said.
Hoyt also said he had a loaded gun and was going to shoot Boehner, the documents added. He volunteered to be taken to a psychiatric hospital.
A special agent with the U.S. Capitol Police says in the complaint that Hoyt said he began hearing the devil’s voice from his car and home radios after he was fired, telling him that Boehner was “evil.”
Hoyt, 44, is now being held for mental evaluation and treatment at Devens Federal Medical Center in Massachusetts, and authorities believe he “poses a current and ongoing credible threat” to Boehner, according to federal records.
Messages and email requests were left for the lawyer listed on court documents as Hoyt’s attorney.
No one answered the door Tuesday night at the darkened house listed as Hoyt’s address, and a phone number listed to him wasn’t in service. Messages were left Wednesday at a Hebron, Kentucky, phone number, believed to belong to Hoyt’s mother.
The complaint says Hoyt was treated for a psychotic episode about two years ago and stopped taking prescribed medication months ago.
A message was left Wednesday for the manager of the Wetherington Country Club in the Wetherington community where Boehner has his home in West Chester Township.
Boehner, as House speaker, is second in line for the presidency in the event of a vacancy.
Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-California, said the suspect “needs a great deal of help. But the speaker also needs to be protected.”