Judge orders JCC threat defendant to remain in custody
A federal judge has ruled that the man accused of threatening to shoot up the Jewish Community Center in Youngstown should remain in custody while a grand jury decides whether he should face trial.
James Reardon is accused of posting a video to Instagram in which he is seen firing a weapon with the caption "Police identified the Youngstown Jewish Family Community shooter as white nationalist Seamus O'Reardon," designed to look like a mock news headline.
Reardon's online name is "IRA Seamus," a reference to the Irish Republican Army.
In the findings from the preliminary examination, Judge George Limbert wrote that there is probable cause to believe Reardon committed the crime he's accused of and said he must remain in custody to protect the community.
"I find that the credible testimony and information submitted at the hearing establishes by clear and convincing evidence that no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the safety of the community," Limbert wrote.
Reardons' parents, along with a friend, testified at Thursday's hearing. His friend told the court he helped make the video and added sound effects of screams and sirens, but said Reardon added the caption when he posted it to Instagram.
At a news conference earlier this month, U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman said self-proclaimed white nationalists have a right to free speech, but not to threaten the lives of others. "
In a complaint filed in August, Reardon was charged with transmitting threatening communications via interstate commerce.
The post was initially reported to New Middletown police, who contacted Springfield Township police, the Mahoning Valley Violent Crimes Task Force and the FBI.
Reardon was arrested following a search of his New Middletown residence, where police found two AR-15's, a rifle with a bayonet, knives and a .40 caliber anti-tank gun, along with Nazi memorabilia.
Reardon was featured in a documentary for his participation in the 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville that resulted in the death of one woman.
Photos of Reardon at that rally were submitted as evidence during Thursday's hearing, which prosecutors say demonstrate him clashing with authorities and possessing an expandable baton.
A grand jury will now decide if there is enough evidence to move forward with the case against Reardon.