An employee of a veterans’ service center in Hamilton is facing charges alleging that he wrote a threatening note that appeared directed at himself.
Joshua Matthew Getz, 33, made an initial appearance in Ravalli County Justice Court on Wednesday and was charged with felony tampering with or fabricating physical evidence and two felony counts of intimidation. He has not entered a plea.
Hamilton police responded to the Valley Veterans Service Center on July 7 after receiving a report about the letter that threatened retaliation for Getz’s testimony against a co-worker who was acquitted of threatening the life of President Barack Obama.
“You tried to stab someone in the back and you lost,” the note said, adding: “Watch your back now (expletive) you won’t see the bullet coming.”
Getz and two other center workers said they believed it was written in retaliation for Getz’s testimony against former center employee Dan Rachell, but said it also frightened the other two workers. Rachell, 43, was acquitted on July 1 after a two-day federal trial in Missoula.
A police officer searched the computers at the center and found evidence that Getz may have written the note, charging documents state.
Detective Steve Murphy discovered a file that had not been saved on the computer in Getz’s office, but the name on the file “you tried to stab someone in the back” matched the first sentence on the note. The file was listed as having been modified at 7:42 a.m. on the day the note was found, court records said.
Getz offered several explanations, saying that he had found it on his windshield, “freaked out” and crumpled it up. He said he typed it up rather than making a photocopy and left it on the office’s door so others would find it. He also told authorities he shredded the original note, court records said.
Getz was released after posting $1,000 bail. He is not allowed to have any contact with the other two employees who found the note on the door.
Justice Court officials said Getz planned to request a public defender.
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