A 22-year-old Indiana man is facing both state and federal charges after allegedly posting a rambling message on Facebook in which he claimed ties to Las Vegas cop killers Jerad and Amanda Miller, made death threats against state judges and law enforcement officers, and warned that a local courthouse would be “blown to pieces within the month” — before claiming that it had all been written as satire.
In federal charges unsealed Monday, Samuel Bradbury, of Pine Village, Ind., was accused of using interstate communications to make threats and willfully threatening to use explosives. That’s in addition to four Class C felony intimidation charges Bradbury faces in state court. Bradbury could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison if convicted on the federal charges alone.
According to an FBI affidavit written in support of the federal charges, Bradbury posted threats to kill West Lafayette, Ind. police officer Troy Greene, Tippecanoe County Sheriff Tracy Brown, Tippecanoe County Judge Les Meade, and Indiana Supreme Court Loretta Rush on Facebook on June 19.
In a long post, reprinted in the affidavit, Bradbury allegedly claimed ties to the Millers, former Indiana residents who earlier this month killed three people, including two police officers, in Las Vegas before killing themselves. At the end his post, Bradbury wrote: “FREE SPEECH EXERCISE FOOLS.” But above that disclaimer, Bradbury wrote that he ran a local anarchist “cop killing” group that had counted the Millers among its members — until the group discovered the Millers were police informants.
“I can’t keep silent on this conspiracy anymore,” Bradbury allegedly wrote. “I have to reveal some truth. My buddy and comrade Ant has been catching some flack for some of his posts about killing cops. I have to let the truth out. Jerad and Amanda Miller were losers. They were part of out [sic] group, the 765 Anarchists, the town’s cop killing group run by none other than myself, Sam Bradbury. When we discovered that Jerad and Amanda were [confidential informants] and in with the boys in blue, we sent them out to the Bundy Ranch to cause controversy elsewhere because we didn’t need them snitching on our business. I hadn’t heard from him since that event, but some of our comrades gave the command and that’s why Jerad and Amanda miller [sic] killed those cops in Las Vegas.”
Bradbury then wrote that his group had been formed to kill local cops, that Greene and Brown were at the top of the group’s hit list, and that the group had gathered “enough thermite and explosives that we intend to not only kill those two pigs and any others that get in our way, but also to cause extreme damage to the county’s various offices’ equipment [sic], including police cars and and police buildings.”
“Before the month is over, we intend to incinerate and destroy no less than 6 police cars, as well as the Tippecanoe County Courthouse, with hits specifically targeted on Judge Les Meade and Judge Loretta Rush also,” he wrote. “The courthouse will be blown to pieces within the month, we have agents operating all over the city, and some all over the country.”
Police in West Lafayette got a tip about the post on June 21, and, that night, they executed a search warrant at Bradbury’s house. According to the affidavit, officers searching Bradbury’s room found three 115 gram bags of aluminum powder and three 345 gram bags of black iron oxide — both substances used to make thermite. They also found several poems written in notebooks where cop killing was a theme, portions of which were reprinted in the affidavit:
Cuz I’ve been robbed by the cops, caged by the system
And if I killed those bastards, would anybody miss ’em
Maybe, just maybe, the last ones who kissed ’em
I’ve killed so many badges that I can’t even list ’em
During the search, police were also able to access Facebook posts Bradbury wrote in response to people who had commented about his original rant.
“Just to let everyone know: this is complete satire and an exercise of whether or not free speech still exists in America,” he wrote. “This post uses real names, but everything else is fake.”
In an interview with TPM on Monday, Bradbury’s court-appointed federal public defender, Viniyanka Prasad, emphasized that Bradbury had yet to be formally charged by a grand jury, and that the original Facebook post had been up for less than an hour and followed by one explained that “none of that posting was real, that it was a satire, that was written to get people to think.” Prasad also said that the substances found in Bradbury’s room had not been mixed together to create “something else,” and that the case’s ties to the Millers had been overblown by the media.
“There is absolutely no connection between him and the Millers,” Prasad said.