CINCINNATI — An Ohio bartender with a history of psychiatric illness was indicted on a charge of threatening to murder House Speaker John Boehner, possibly by poisoning his drink at a country club or shooting him, according to court documents.
A grand jury indictment filed in U.S. District Court in Ohio on Jan. 7 identified the accused man as Cincinnati resident Michael R. Hoyt, said the records made available Jan. 14.
A separate criminal complaint said Hoyt was fired last fall from his job at a country club in West Chester, Ohio, where he served drinks to Boehner, who is a member.
The complaint says Hoyt told a police officer that before leaving the country club, he “did not have time to put something in John Boehner’s drink.”
Hoyt also told officers that no one checks the drinks he had poured for Boehner, and it would have been easy to slip something in his drink, the complaint said.
Hoyt is currently being held under a court order for mental evaluation and treatment, and U.S. Capitol Police and the FBI believe he “poses a current and ongoing credible threat” to Boehner, the complaint added.
Federal prison records show the 44-year-old Hoyt is being held at the Devens Federal Medical Center in Massachusetts.
The lawyer listed on court documents as Hoyt’s attorney didn’t immediately respond to phone calls or email requests for comment.
No one answered the door Jan. 13 at the address listed for Hoyt on court documents, and the house was dark. Two neighbors couldn’t confirm that Hoyt lived in the house.
A phone number listed to Hoyt wasn’t in service Jan. 14.
The court documents said, “Hoyt told the officer he was Jesus Christ and that he was going to kill Boehner because Boehner was mean to him at the country club and because Boehner is responsible for Ebola.”
According to the criminal complaint, Hoyt said he had a loaded Beretta .380 automatic pistol and he was going to shoot Boehner. Hoyt had volunteered to be taken to a psychiatric hospital, and police took his weapon.
The complaint says Hoyt was treated for a previous psychotic episode about two years ago. He was prescribed medication “which he voluntarily stopped taking” about six months ago, it added.
Hamilton County court records show Hoyt was arrested twice more than a decade ago on alcohol-related charges. Records for a 2011 case showed he paid $145 for failing to keep his dog confined. On that citation, Hoyt gave his employer as Wetherington Country Club.
The club is in the Wetherington community where Boehner has his home in West Chester Township. A message was left for the club’s manager.
As speaker of the House, Boehner is second in line for the Presidency in the event of a vacancy. His Congressional district includes part of western Ohio.
Boehner arrived at the Capitol on Jan. 14, but didn’t talk to reporters.
Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-California, called the episode “sad.” He added that the suspect “needs a great deal of help. But the Speaker also needs to be protected.”
A spokesman for Boehner, Michael Steel, said the speaker is “aware of the situation and sincerely thanks the FBI, the Capitol Police and the local authorities in Ohio for their efforts.”
The Capitol Police could not be reached for immediate comment.
It was not clear why officials waited as long as they did to disclose the charge. The grand jury indictment is dated Jan. 7, but the incident referred to in the papers took place on Oct. 29 of last year, and the complaint itself was filed on Nov. 6.
By Lisa Cornwell and David Espo. AP writers Jennifer Smola in Columbus, Ohio, Dan Sewell in Cincinnati, and Laurie Kellman in Washington contributed to this report