Former Kalispell Man Who Threatened School Shooting Receives Probation

David Lenio was convicted of misdemeanor malicious use of a telecommunications service earlier this year

By Justin Franz
David Joseph Lenio peers around his attorney at the prosecution after he pleaded not guilty in Flathead County District Court on March 19, 2015. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

A former Kalispell man who threatened to shoot up a school and assassinate religious leaders has been forbidden from using social media or possessing weapons after being convicted on a separate charge.

David Joseph Lenio, 30, was arrested earlier this year on charges of felony stalking, felony use of a computer to commit a crime and misdemeanor malicious use of a telecommunications service after being accused of harassing a Maryland man on Twitter.

Lenio, who now lives in Michigan, was acquitted of the felonies and found guilty of the misdemeanor at a trial in June. He was sentenced Aug. 17 in Kent County Circuit Court in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Lenio will serve two years probation and is be required to receive mental health treatment. During those two years, he will not be able to use the Internet or social media and will not be able to go within 1,000 feet of a school or synagogue, or possess any firearms.

Lenio had been harassing Jonathan Hutson, a Maryland man who first discovered Lenio’s threatening Twitter messages in early 2015, when Lenio was living in Kalispell.

In one online post on Feb. 12, 2015, Lenio, who had recently moved to Kalispell, 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 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 admitted that he had sent the messages and that he was “trying to bring attention to certain social issues,” according to court documents. He then told the officer that he was glad his tweets were gaining the attention of law enforcement and school officials.

Later that same day, an officer talked to Lenio’s roommate, who said Lenio had brought rifles and ammunition to their home the night before, according to authorities. Police obtained a search warrant for Lenio’s apartment and found a 9mm semiautomatic 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 semiautomatic pistol and more ammunition. They also discovered marijuana, a pipe and jugs of urine.

Lenio was arrested that day as he was returning from snowboarding at Whitefish Mountain Resort.

Lenio was charged in Flathead County District Court with intimidation and criminal defamation, both felonies. He pleaded not guilty to the charges soon after his arrest. He spent five months in the Flathead County Detention Center before being released into the custody of his family in Michigan.

In March 2016, prosecutors dropped the charges against Lenio so long as he stayed out of legal trouble for two years.

Earlier this year, Hutson accused Lenio of harassing and threatening him on Twitter again. Lenio’s account was later shut down for violating the website’s terms of service. Lenio was arrested and charged in February.

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