REDDING, Calif. — A French Gulch, California, man accused of threatening to kill law enforcement officers and hundreds of schoolchildren in a “Columbine-style” attack was ordered Thursday to stand trial after a loud — and sometimes obscene — tirade that forced his removal from the courtroom.
But Robert Alan Gibbs didn’t want to be there, anyway.
The 44-year-old Gibbs, who refused to leave the jail for what was to be a morning hearing, was finally brought into the courtroom in the afternoon after Superior Court Judge Dan Flynn issued a cell extraction order to have him present.
Arrested nearly a year ago, his preliminary hearing has been repeatedly delayed due a list of reasons, including his refusal to attend and once threatening to throw himself down the stairs that lead from the jail to the courtroom.
As he was brought into the courtroom in a wheelchair by a cadre of deputy marshals and other law enforcement officials, Gibbs repeatedly screamed “rough justice promotes injustice.”
And he didn’t let up, saying his constitutional rights are being violated.
“You are a tyrant, sir,” Gibbs yelled at Flynn four times at the top of his lungs. “You are an unholy, despotic, despicable, disgusting unconscionable, inhuman, inhumane (obscenity) tyrant. I will not be railroaded. I will not be talked over. I will not be (obscenity) over.”
The judge ordered the marshals to wheel the still-shouting Gibbs into a foyer outside the courtroom so the hearing could proceed. On the way out, Gibbs spat upon defense attorney Shon Northam, who tried to dodge the wet bullet.
“I knew you were going to do that,” Northam said to Gibbs as he was rolled out of the courtroom, a spit hood then placed over his head.
Flynn told Gibbs several times he was welcome to be present at the hearing if he promised to be quiet and non-disruptive, Gibbs did not take him up on the offer.
Although the criminal proceedings against Gibbs had before been suspended pending psychological evaluations, they had been reinstated after those evaluations found him to be mentally competent.
Gibbs is charged with five felony counts of making criminal threats and a series of enhancements. He’s about 15 years in prison if tried and convicted on those charges.
He was arrested Sept. 11 on suspicion of making threatening comments against law enforcement officers and schoolchildren in a recorded telephone conversation with Deputy Attorney General John Feser, who represented game wardens Brian Boyd and Dwayne Little in a lawsuit filed by Gibbs.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Ben Hanna played that telephone conversation during Thursday’s hearing.
“I hate cops and I want to kill as many of them as I can,” Gibbs is heard saying. “If payback is what they want, then payback is what they are going to get.”
It’s been alleged Gibbs specifically threatened to harm game wardens Boyd and Little, as well as Shasta County sheriff’s Sgt. Brian Jackson, Detective Chris Edwards and Sgt. Jose Gonzalez.
Additionally, he is accused of threatening to harm hundreds of schoolchildren.
“You are not really going to do that, are you Robert?” Feser asks in the tape-recorded conversation as he tried to calm him down.
“It’s on the list,” Gibbs said, noting he drives by a school on a weekly basis.
“This ain’t about the law anymore,” Gibbs said. “It’s about a reckoning. I am going to make Columbine look like a (obscenity) tea party.”
Gibbs later wrote a letter to the Record Searchlight apologizing for his statements, saying it was never his intent to harm anyone.
He remains in Shasta County Jail in lieu of $405,000 bail.
Gibbs, who was also ordered to stand trial in a domestic violence case, is scheduled to have a trial date scheduled on Sept. 15.
He will not be required to be at that court procedure if he does not wish to attend.
Follow Jim Schultz on Twitter: @JimSchultz_RS
Source: USA today