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Attorney for Man Accused of Online Threats Files Motion to Delay Trial

David Lenio’s attorney filed motion to continue trial as both sides near plea deal

The attorney for a man accused of threatening school children and religious leaders on Twitter filed a motion to reschedule next week’s jury trial as both sides work toward a “potential resolution.”

David Lenio’s attorney, public defender Brent Getty, filed the motion on Nov. 5. Lenio, 29, is scheduled to stand trial beginning Monday on a charge of felony intimidation. The motion suggested that a plea deal was imminent.

“The Defense requests a continuance to allow time to finalize the potential resolution of this matter,” Getty wrote. “Discussions are ongoing and the matter may be able to be resolved, without the need for a trial, as early as next week.”

If a resolution cannot be reached, Getty continued, then the defendant requests that the case be scheduled for trial during the next available term. The motion notes that the Flathead County Attorney’s Office does not object to the motion to continue the trial.

Lenio was arrested in February and charged with felony intimidation and criminal defamation for a series of threats he allegedly made on Twitter last winter. The criminal defamation charge was later dropped after Getty argued that it was overbroad.

In one online post on Feb. 12, Lenio allegedly wrote, “I bet I could get at least 12 unarmed sitting ducks if I decide to go on a killing spree in a school. Sounds better than being a wage slave.” And in another tweet, sent on Feb. 15, he reportedly wrote, “If my tax dollars can go to blowing up Palestine school kids then surely I can tweet about how cool killing school kids is.”

On Feb. 16, an officer with the Kalispell Police Department contacted Lenio to talk to him about his tweets. Lenio acknowledged that he had sent the messages and he was “trying to bring attention to certain social issues,” according to court documents. He then told the officer he was glad his tweets were gaining the attention of law enforcement and school officials, according to court records.

Later that same day, an officer talked to Lenio’s roommate, who said that Lenio had brought rifles and ammunition to their home the night before. Police obtained a search warrant for Lenio’s apartment and found a 9mm semi-automatic rifle and a Russian-made bolt-action rifle in his bedroom. They also found numerous rounds of ammunition in Lenio’s bedroom and basement. Later, they conducted a search of Lenio’s vehicle and found a .32-caliber semi-automatic pistol and more ammunition. They also discovered marijuana, a pipe and jugs of urine.

Lenio was arrested Feb. 16 at 4:45 p.m. as he was coming back from snowboarding. The arrest was made in coordination with the Kalispell Police Department, the FBI, the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office and the Whitefish Police Department.

Kalispell Police Chief Roger Nasset said the fact that Lenio had moved guns to his house was what took the threat to the “next level” and led to his arrest.

In July, Lenio was released into the custody of his family in Michigan.