A Texas man suspected of threatening to blow up the Mall of America and kill President Barack Obama will remain behind bars without bail - at least until more is learned about his mental health.
At a detention hearing Tuesday in Durango, U.S. Magistrate Judge David L. West said Timothy Ryan Gutierrez, 20, might be a danger to the community.
The magistrate based his opinion on Gutierrez's juvenile criminal record and on evidence that Gutierrez acts without considering the consequences of his actions.
During the hearing, West heard from Gutierrez's mother, an FBI agent and lawyers.
Gutierrez began sobbing soon after West made his decision.
Gutierrez is suspected of sending two e-mails on Jan. 12 from Cortez to the FBI office in Washington, D.C. In the first e-mail, Gutierrez threatened to assassinate Obama, who had not yet been sworn in as president, according to the federal indictment. In the second e-mail, Gutierrez said he had seven cars rigged with dynamite outside the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn.
A bomb squad was assembled at the Mall of America, and some cars were towed. Authorities also visited the home of a man with the same name as Gutierrez who lives 90 miles from the Mall of America.
No evidence has surfaced that Gutierrez planned to act on either threat; in fact, he told The Cortez Journal the treats were a "prank."
Gutierrez's mother, Cindy Lopez of Andrews, Texas, asked the magistrate to release her son for future court proceedings on the condition that he abstain from alcohol and drugs, attend court hearings and avoid using computers.
Lopez said she hasn't had any problems with her son's behavior for about eight years - when he took a fake gun to school and ran from a police officer.
"He's my son. I love him. I'll make sure he does what he has to do to come home," she told the court.
During cross-examination, Lopez admitted her son has an impulse-control problem and is emotionally instable.
"Tim tends to do things without thinking about the consequences," she said.
That was especially worrisome to West.
Prosecutor Todd Norvell said evidence suggests Gutierrez has used marijuana recently, he might sufferer from an undiagnosed mental condition and the threats were serious in nature.
FBI Special Agent John Wallace of Durango testified that Gutierrez lied about his identity when authorities first went to his house, but otherwise he has been cooperative.
He admitted to sending the e-mails and allowed the FBI to search his house and seize his computer. No weapons were found in the search.
The FBI allowed Gutierrez to remain free for almost two weeks before asking him to turn himself in, which he did.
Wallace said he was unfamiliar with Gutierrez juvenile criminal record until recently; otherwise he probably would have requested he be arrested sooner.
Gutierrez's public defender, Michael Goldman of Durango, said when you read between the lines, it is clear that Gutierrez does not represent a threat to the community.
"Even if he did these acts, he had no means where by to carry them out," Goldman said after the detention hearing.
Gutierrez has been charged with two counts: transmission in interstate commerce threats, which is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine; and transmission of threats in interstate commerce to use explosives, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.