Benton County Suspect Accused of Threatening to ‘Chop Up’ Judge
More troubles for a mentally disturbed career criminal, who's now facing new charges after allegedly threatening to 'chop up' a Benton County Superior Court Judge.
37-year-old Brandon Van Winkle, who has 8 previous felony convictions, is accused of making threats towards Judge Alex Ekstrom after being told a couple of weeks ago he would be required to wear jail restraints during court appearances.
The restraints stem from a previous courtroom assault, when Van Winkle attacked an alleged child abuser over his receiving a shorter sentence than Van Winkle thought he should receive.
The judicial threats were just made, but were several weeks after the new restraint mandates were proposed. Benton County Prosecuting Attorney officials say they fear Van Winkle would be capable of carrying out at least some of his threats, and now all the Benton County judges have reclused themselves from overseeing his cases. An outside judge must now be brought in.
Wan Winkle was arrested for meth possession last November, he was also facing charges for allegedly spitting on a corrections officer in the Benton County jail. He was also accused of attempting to assault another prisoner during a December hearing.
He reportedly believes he is Jesus Christ, and can act as he does because the world is his. Court papers indicate he said he would chop up Judge Alex Ekstrom in his chambers, and "wouldn't even clean it up."
There was no mention is any recent psych evaluations have been done on Van Winkle. His trial on the rare charge of Intimidating a Judge is scheduled for March 28th.