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Press Release

Missouri Man Indicted For Making Threats Against Augusta Mosque

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Georgia

Savannah, GA – Preston Q. Howard, 49, of Wright City, Missouri, was indicted last week by a federal grand jury in Savannah for transmitting threats in interstate commerce to members of the Islamic Society of Augusta, Georgia.  Today, Howard was arrested on those charges, the indictment against him was unsealed, and he will make an initial appearance before a federal magistrate judge in Missouri.  

The indictment alleges that, between June 22, 2017 and August 8, 2017, Howard made numerous telephone calls to the mosque during which he threatened to “kill,” “shoot,” “behead,” “slaughter,” “execute,” “light on fire,” and “murder” members of the mosque, to “hunt down” and “zone in” on Muslims, and to “blow up the mosque.”  

United States Attorney Bobby L. Christine said, “Those who make detestable and hateful threats against members of our community in violation of federal law will be held accountable, as we continue to work with our law enforcement partners to identify and bring to justice those who terrorize our citizens.”

“No one has the right to rob citizens of their sense of safety in their communities and where they practice their faith,” said David J. LeValley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta.  “Threats intended to instill fear in religious communities are an attack on the very fabric of our society and will not be tolerated.  The FBI will continue to vigorously investigate anyone who engages in such violent acts.”   

The indictment against Howard charges ten counts of interstate communication with intent to threaten to injure.  If convicted, Howard faces up to five years’ imprisonment on each count.

Mr. Christine emphasized that an indictment is only an accusation and is not evidence of guilt.  The defendant is entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. 

The indictment of Howard arises out of an investigation led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Assistant United States Attorney Nancy Greenwood is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.  For any questions, please contact Appellate Chief R. Brian Tanner at (912) 652-4422.

Updated December 14, 2017