A Tulsa man was sentenced Monday in federal court for sending threatening emails to KOTV Channel 6 directed at President Joseph Biden and unnamed members of the Congress and their families, announced U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson.
U.S. District Judge Rodney W. Sippel sentenced John Jacobs Ahrens, 59, to 30 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release.
“John Ahrens is the second defendant to appear in the Northern District of Oklahoma in the last week for threatening public officials and their families. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to protecting an individual’s right to free speech, but those protections do not extend to threats of violence,” said U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson. “Ahrens’ 30 month sentence demonstrates that federal prosecutors and our law enforcement partners will hold accountable individuals who make such violent statements.”
On Dec. 22, 2021, Ahrens pleaded guilty to one count of threat against the President of the United States and two counts of interstate communication with a threat to injure.
Charges specifically addressed threatening emails sent to KOTV Channel 6 on May 10, 2021, and June 10, 2021. In the May email, Ahrens threatened to kill family members of those serving in the U.S. Congress. In the June email, Ahrens specifically threatened to kill President Biden.
According to court documents, an executive producer from the station contacted the FBI’s National Threat Operations Center to report multiple threatening emails dated between May and June 2021.
On May 10, 2021, Ahrens sent a message stating, “Please go to my Facebook page and read what I sent to the men of the United States Congress. They have less than 48 hours to hand over my money or their children will start dying all over the country. I’m going to kill their children using the same law as the Government used to force our families on to the Trail of Tears.”
He followed it up the same day with an email stating, “I tried to contact you earlier but the Feds shut me down they got a little uptight because I informed the men of the United States Congress if they didn’t hand my money over in less than 48 hours. I will have their children killed. If that doesn’t get the message across. Then I start on their women…”
In his June 10 email, Ahrens stated, “America is going to get to see a sitting President get his head blown off right in front of them… A kill contract went out on one Joseph Biden, President of the United States of America. I’m the one that put it there and if he doesn’t submit to the law, America is going to watch him die right in front of them.”
In a June 17 message, he wrote “You have until Monday morning 8:00 am sharp to hand a check over to the State of Oklahoma, the Muscogee Nation and my family in accordance with a signed agreement as set forth in the Treaty of 1866.”
Ahrens was arrested at his Tulsa residence on June 18, 2021, by agents of the FBI and Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and task force officers with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.
Also convicted for threatening an elected official was Keith Eisenberger, 39, of Bartlesville, Oklahoma. On Aug. 10, Eisenberger pleaded guilty in a separate case to cyberstalking and threatening U.S. Representative Kevin Hern, of Oklahoma’s first congressional district, and his family.
The U.S. Secret Service, FBI, and Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel-lyn A. McCormick prosecuted the case.