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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Illinois

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 27, 2015

Homeless Man Sentenced For Conveying A False Threat

Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced today that on February 26, 2015, Oliver M. Dotts, 41, with no legal address, was sentenced for Conveying a False Threat. Dotts was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison, 3 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay a $100 special assessment. Dotts has been held without bond since his arraignment on a Criminal Complaint on July 9, 2014.

The investigation of Dotts began when, on July 8, 2014, Dotts came to the Federal Courthouse in East St. Louis, Illinois, and asked to speak with a Deputy United States Marshal (DUSM). Dotts told the DUSM that he was “having bad thoughts” and “not thinking right.” When asked what he meant, Dotts replied that he was thinking about getting some gas and burning some cars in the Courthouse parking lot, and also that he wanted “to get some gas and burn down the f**king Post Office.” After Dotts repeatedly made the threats despite the DUSM’s efforts to calm him down, the DUSM contacted the Department of Homeland Security - Federal Protective Service (FPS).

A Special Agent with FPS arrived at the Federal Courthouse and interviewed Dotts. When asked if he was serious about the comments he made to the DUSM, Dotts said that he was serious, and that, when he leaves the Courthouse, he is going to go buy some gas, set fire to the cars in the Courthouse parking lot and set fire to the Post Office. Dotts said that he did not want to hurt anyone. He said that he just wanted to draw media attention to his acts so someone would put him “in therapy or a program” to help him with this substance abuse problems and get him back on the medication he takes for his mental health issues. Dotts reported earlier to the DUSM that he went to a mental health facility and asked to be admitted to get back on his medication and “get into a program or some therapy.” Dotts said that, despite telling the staff at the facility that he was having serious problems with drugs and alcohol and would do something dangerous, the facility would not admit him. He said that it was then that he decided to walk to the Federal Courthouse.

Based on Dotts’ continued threats to burn cars in the Courthouse parking lot and the Post Office if he was released from the Courthouse, and his apparent calm and lucid behavior, Dotts was taken into custody, and a criminal complaint was issued the next day.

The case was investigated by the United States Marshal Service and the Department of Homeland Security – Federal Protective Service. The case was assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Angela Scott.

Updated March 3, 2015