Alleged Mosque Plotter Had Long History Of Crime, Mental Illness

Roger Stockham, the 63-year-old Vietnam vet who was arrested last week for allegedly plotting to attack the largest mosque in North America, has a long history of run-ins with the law and mental health issues.

Contemporaneous news reports spanning the past five decades chronicle a number of troubling incidents that resulted in both state and federal charges. Stockham has frequently argued that he’s insane and has been put in a variety of programs.In 1979, Stockham kidnapped his son from a foster home and took him aboard a rented plane, which he crashed in Los Angeles. He was deemed insane after setting fire to some oil storage tanks. After sending threatening letters to President Jimmy Carter, Stockham escaped from a state mental hospital in 1981.

Stockham surrendered to police after four months free on the condition that he be allowed to make television appearances to discuss the Vietnam war, according to a February 1982 story in the Press-Courier. He was ordered freed later that year “after the man who prosecuted him agreed that he should not be held,” according to a story in the Los Angeles Times.

The next record of Stockham shows up in 1985, when the FBI searched for Stockham as the suspect who allegedly planted a pipe bomb at Reno Cannon International Airport and possessed an unregistered firearm. It is unclear what sentence Stockham received in that case.

Then in 2002, Stockham sent obscenity-laced letters to employees in the South Burlington Veterans Affairs office, according to Vermont’s Burlington Free Press, which also received threatening phone calls. Stockham threatened to “take out” the VA office in White River Junction.

Stockham pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. Records show he was released in 2005, when a judge ordered the government to develop a program for release that included reliable monitoring to ensure Stockham was taking his medication and that he refrain from using controlled substances or alcohol.