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Man accused of threatening to kill Sen. Tester denied release from jail

Posted at 12:02 PM, Feb 28, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-28 14:07:25-05

MISSOULA - Kevin Patrick Smith, accused of threatening to kill U.S. Senator Jon Tester of Montana, has been denied release from jail.

During a detention hearing Monday in U.S. District Court, Magistrate Judge Kathleen DeSoto denied Smith's release, citing community safety.

DeSoto said there is clear and convincing evidence establishing that no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the safety of the community if Smith were released.

Prosecutors allege that on January 30, 2023, Smith made numerous threatening calls to Tester by phone, leaving voicemails at his Kalispell office.

In one instance, Smith reportedly said, "There is nothing more than to have you stand toe to toe with me. You stand toe to toe with me. I rip your head off. You die. You stand in a situation where it is physical between you and me. You die.".... "I will never stop....and I would love to destroy you and rip your f***ing head from your shoulders. That is no problem. Call that a threat. Send the FBI."

On February 1, 2023, the FBI contacted Smith and instructed him not to threaten violence toward Tester. On February 10, 2023, Smith again called Tester, stating in one voice message, "I want you to understand. If I ever pull my trigger, I know what dies."

In another voicemail received on the same date, Smith stated:

"No one with any understanding of anything pulls the trigger. Unless they know what they're shooting at. I guaran-godamn-tee you. My trigger doesn't get pulled until I know what I'm shooting at. And when I know what I'm shooting at, and I've decided it's dead, it gets pulled. And there's no if ands or buts about it. And there's no coming back from that."

Smith, 45 years old, has been charged with two felony counts of "threats to injure and murder a United States Senator."

Smith pleaded not guilty to the charges in U.S. District Court in Missoula on Thursday, February 23, 2023. He remains in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending further proceedings.


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