Muncie man sentenced for threatening to ‘blow up’ juvenile magistrate’s home

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Days after a Muncie man was arrested for threatening to shoot Delaware County judges, a different Muncie man was sentenced for intimidation after saying he would “blow up” a juvenile magistrate judge’s house if she didn’t rule in his favor.

Delaware County Prosecutor Eric Hoffman announced John Armstrong, 37, was sentenced to four years in prison for Level 5 felony intimidation on Tuesday. According to court documents, Armstrong was charged with intimidating Delaware Circuit Court Juvenile Magistrate Amanda Yonally. He entered a plea agreement in May 2022.

According to a probable cause affidavit, during a meeting on April 19, 2021, Armstrong got “very upset” with family case manager Kasey Thomas of the Youth Opportunity Center.

During the meeting, Armstrong told Thomas, “If that judge (Yonally) doesn’t move my kids with my family, I will blow up her house.” Thomas informed Armstrong he couldn’t talk that way, and Armstrong proceeded to say, “It’s not like I have any C-4 or anything,” and started laughing, according to court documents.

Thomas then asked Armstrong and his wife, Jessica, to leave the property and reported the incident. Yonally subsequently contacted local police and told them the last few times she had Zoom meetings with Armstrong he had a handgun in plain sight sitting on the table, according to the affidavit.

One of the Zoom call videos collected by police showed Armstrong holding what appeared to be a Glock handgun outside of a car window during a virtual court proceeding, the affidavit states.

On April 30, 2021, Armstrong was arrested for intimidation. He initially denied making the threats to the juvenile magistrate judge before later claiming he didn’t recall his words, the affidavit says. When shown a still photo of Armstrong holding the alleged handgun during the court proceeding, Armstrong said it was a BB gun.

Multiple threats have been made towards judicial officers inside and out of the state in recent weeks.

Armstrong’s sentencing came two days after Donald W. Guinn, of Muncie, was charged with five counts of intimidation for threatening to “pick off” multiple Delaware Circuit Court judges with a firearm.

In early May, David Wayne Goetz II of Morocco was arrested on two counts intimidation for allegedly threatening Indiana Supreme Court justices. Goetz allegedly sent the justices emails threatening to kill them.

On Tuesday, the Associated Press reported the Department of Homeland Security has determined the U.S. is currently in a “heightened threat environment” for the next six months with a looming SCOTUS decision on abortion, an increase of migrants at the Mexico border and midterm elections.

An armed man who allegedly threatened to harm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was arrested near the justice’s home in Maryland on Wednesday.

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