Federal investigators recently revealed a man from California threatened to murder Texas megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress “in the name of Allah.”
Darnell Ray Owens, 32, was arrested last week in Tulsa, where he awaited extradition to his hometown of Sacramento, according to The Dallas Morning News. Jeffress, lead pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, has been an outspoken supporter of President Donald Trump.
“I will assassinate your pastor in the name of Allah,” Owens reportedly wrote in part, referring to Jeffress. “I will burn down Christian churches. … This is a threat.”
Owens’ threatening letter arrived in the church’s post office box July 10, 2018, when a church employee opened the envelope, which was laced with a white powder substance. The powder was found to be nontoxic after the Dallas Fire-Rescue Department quarantined the employee.
Church staffers told FBI officials there were several people at the worship center at the time preparing for a children’s vacation Bible school event when the letter arrived.
What else did Owens do?
Federal investigators have traced nearly 50 similar letters to Owens.
In addition to targeting Jeffress, he also threatened to kill police officers, government officials, members of the LGBTQ community and “white people,” KXTV-TV reported.
Nearly a year ago, Owens sent a letter to the Sacramento LGBT Community Center, in which he vowed to “murder every f** or queer, lesbian, transsexuals, transgenders in Sacramento.” David Heitstuman, executive director for the center, immediately reported the note.
“The letters were truly hate-filled and were on the basis of religious scripture and espousing the idea we were all going to be murdered and killed,” Heitstuman said.
A federal grand jury returned a seven-count indictment last Thursday against Owens. In addition to being charged for making such heinous threats, officials have also charged Owens with identity theft because the letters were mailed with fraudulent return addresses.
Owens faces up to two years in prison for each count of identity theft and up to five years for each count of threat or scam involving a biological weapon.