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David Chavis

David Chavis argues with his attorney in August 2016 before being led out of a courtroom in the Townsend Justice Center in Casper. He is now accused of threatening to kill a federal judge.

File, Star-Tribune

A man charged with holding a hostage at knifepoint in August 2016 sent a letter in December threatening to kill a federal judge in Casper, court documents allege.

David Michael Chavis, 37, faces a charge of mailing threatening communications for allegedly sending a threatening letter to Judge Scott Skavdahl. The letter was postmarked Dec. 27.

The letter allegedly states that the sender “will have no choice, but to federally reoffend and I, will kill you or blow up Casper’s federal courthouse,” according to an affidavit signed by a U.S. deputy marshal.

The letter also states that the sender has the “resources/means” to cause harm and is not making an “empty threat.”

Natrona County Sheriff’s Sgt. Aaron Shatto confirmed Thursday that the man accused of threatening the judge is the same person being held at Natrona County Detention Center in connection with the August 2016 incident.

Chavis allegedly held a Casper office worker hostage for nearly five hours while trying to obtain government documents that he believed were related to him. Officers freed the hostage and arrested Chavis without injury to anyone involved.

Judges have since ordered Chavis to undergo multiple mental evaluations. Results have not been discussed publicly, but a letter sent by Chavis’ attorney, Kerri Johnson, to a judge last year said Chavis “has an ongoing persistent delusional belief regarding what should happen in this case and cannot rationally assist me in his defense.”

A lieutenant at the sheriff’s department contacted the marshal earlier this week regarding a second written communication that authorities suspect Chavis intended to send. That document was addressed to several people, including Skavdahl, Johnson and Judge Daniel Forgey, who is presiding over the hostage case.

In that document, Chavis allegedly threatened to kill a federal employee.

Mailing threatening communications is publishable by up to 10 years imprisonment and fine of up $250,000.

Katie King covers the city of Casper.


Local Government Reporter

Katie King joined the Star-Tribune in 2017 and primarily covers issues related to local government. She previously worked as a crime reporter in the British Virgin Islands. Originally from Virginia, Katie is a graduate of James Madison University.

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