Sunday, February 25, 2024

Nevada man accused of making threats to Little Rock fitness centers

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A man facing a hate crime charge in Nevada was arraigned in federal court in Little Rock on Thursday after being accused of threatening to kill Black people at a Little Rock fitness center.

Hunter Holman, 27, of North Las Vegas, Nev., was arraigned on a federal charge of transmission of a threat to injure, which could subject him to as much as five years in prison, as well as a $250,000 fine and three years’ supervised release, if he is convicted. He was indicted by a federal grand jury in Little Rock earlier this month.

In Clark County, Nevada, Holman is accused of attacking a Black family and threatening a former employer.

According to a probable cause affidavit, the FBI’s Little Rock field office received a complaint on Feb. 9 regarding multiple threatening phone calls being made to Esporta Fitness locations in Little Rock from a cellphone that showed up on the caller ID as being from Holman. The general manager of the Chenal Parkway location told the FBI that Holman had been calling approximately 15 times a day since Jan. 25, threatening to kill all Black people at the facility, the affidavit says.

The affidavit says the general manager told the FBI that Holman had worked at the gym in 2016 but transferred to a location in Florida where he was later fired. Several of Holman’s calls were recorded by employees or the general manager, the affidavit says. In a transcript of a call on Feb. 8, Holman threatens to murder an employee with an AR-15 while using a string of profanity and racial slurs, the affidavit says.

According to the affidavit, Holman was charged in Nevada with assault with a deadly weapon motivated by bias or hatred after he was accused of accelerating his vehicle toward a group of people while yelling racial slurs.

The affidavit says Holman also harassed employees at a hotel where he stayed briefly in Las Vegas, calling multiple times a day and threatening violence and using racial slurs. The affidavit says a hotel employee reported that when Holman checked out, he left behind “an extensive collection of knives,” as well as a goat head in a freezer.

According to a Feb. 28 story in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, police said the assault occurred last July after Holman “randomly picked out a Black family, almost ran them over and indicated he wanted to kill them.”

“The Black male adult had to fight off Holman and stabbed Holman to protect his family,” the newspaper quoted a police report as saying.

Las Vegas police said Holman’s behavior started sometime around mid-May, after he was terminated from his job at a Las Vegas call center, according to the newspaper. It reported that police said Holman started sending text messages claiming to be Jesus and part of the FBI, used racial slurs while making harassing phone calls to the call center, and threatened employees at two Las Vegas area hotels, telling one employee that he was “king of the KKK.”

Holman appeared briefly before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jerome Kearney on Thursday to hear the charge read. He was represented at the hearing by Christophe Tarver of the federal public defender’s office in Little Rock, who was standing in for Molly Sullivan, also with the public defender’s office. Kearney set an initial trial date of April 25 before U.S. District Judge Lee Rudofsky.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristin Bryant said the government was asking that Holman be held in pretrial detention while his case is adjudicated. Kearney told both attorneys he will set a bond hearing at a later date.

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