Md. 'joker' case judge orders GPS monitoring, no firearms

Crofton man accused of threatening a workplace to shooting deemed 'not a danger' by doctor

August 30, 2012|By Erin Cox, The Baltimore Sun

The Crofton man accused of calling himself a "joker" while threatening to carry out a workplace shooting will be under GPS monitoring and not have access to guns while undergoing mental health treatment, a judge ruled Thursday.

Neil Edwin Prescott, 28, appeared in Mental Health Court to update a judge on his first week outside of an inpatient mental health facility after being taken into custody last month. Police raided Prescott's apartment, seized two-dozen firearms he legally owns, and later charged him with using a telephone to make threats.

Prescott's attorney gave a Prince George's County judge a report from a social worker and a doctor that found Prescott was "not a danger" and did not have "any further psychiatric issues" that would make him a threat.

His attorney, William C. Brennan Jr., said Prescott had five outpatient mental health appointments and has been taking medication since leaving the care of mental health experts last week. After an emergency psychiatric evaluation following the raid, Prescott was voluntarily being treated for an undisclosed condition.

Prescott's case drew national headlines in July when police said they thwarted a potential mass shooting that they believed had elements similar to the Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooting that left 12 dead and 58 wounded during a showing of a Batman movie.

Police said Prescott made multiple threats in phone calls to his former supervisor, allegedly telling his old boss, "I am a joker. I am going to load my guns and blow everybody up."

Days later, authorities charged Prescott with a single misdemeanor count of misusing the telephone, which carries a maximum of three years in jail and $500 fine. At the time, Prince George's County State's Attorney Angela D. Alsobrooks called for tougher state laws for making threats and a renewed focus on keeping guns away from people with mental health problems.

Thursday, Alsobrooks held a brief news conference after Prescott's hearing to say her office is "confident his case is being appropriately handled under the jurisdiction of our Mental Health Court, where we believe it belongs."

"We are happy to announce that we feel his GPS monitoring will give the community the measure of comfort they need," Alsobrooks said. She declined to elaborate on whether she thought Prescott should serve jail time. She again thanked police for their "swift action," adding, "I think they abated a potentially very dangerous situation."

District Judge Patrice E. Lewis reaffirmed the conditions set last week when Prescott was released from custody, including that he remain in treatment, take medication and not contact his former employer. On Thursday, she ordered that he submit to GPS monitoring and only leave his parent's Parkton home for legal and medical appointments.

Prescott declined to comment on the case to a reporter but told Lewis in open court that he understood what was expected to him. Prescott is scheduled to have another status hearing with Lewis on Sept. 11.

His attorney declined to comment on the case.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.