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High bail for man charged in threats at Life Resource Center

Mar 3, 2014 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

Judge Robert B. Denhardt said he would prefer an even higher bail for John Cardine.

A Wyoming Life Resource Center employee's bond was continued, and his charge of making terroristic threats against his employer has been bound over to District Court.

Lander Circuit Court Judge Robert B. Denhardt said Thursday that he would not change the $50,000 cash bond for defendant John Joseph Cardine, 39, of Lander.

"If anything I would raise it," the judge said.

The defendant could still make bail if he had the cash, but it was high enough that he had not been able to post the sum before his hearing, indicating he would likely stay in jail.

At the Feb. 27 hearing, Fremont County Deputy Attorney Tom Majdic said the sum of Cardine's actions -- threatening his boss, destroying property, and building firearms parts between Jan. 3 and Feb. 6 -- amounted to terroristic threats because they caused a public nuisance.

Cardine worked in the therapeutic shop at WLRC modifying equipment such as wheelchairs.

To demonstrate the nuisance caused, Majdic said the boss, WLRC's interim director, took up residence in a hotel, WLRC installed security cameras and new locks, and a coworker began carrying a gun in his pickup truck.

"The defense has submitted to the court that we feel this is a stretch," Cardine's lawyer Katherine Strike said.

Cardine did not threaten his boss directly but only made a threatening comment within earshot of a coworker, Strike said. Prosecutors did not show there was a "true threat" and did not prove Cardine intended to carry it out.

Prosecutors allege Cardine first made a threat in Feb. 2012, but he never carried one out over the next two years, the defense attorney said.

Furthermore, the statute on terroristic threats says a person has to intend to cause a public nuisance, such as causing a building's evacuation, to be guilty of the crime, Strike said.

Fremont County Attorney Michael Bennett rejoined, saying prosecutors do not have to show Cardine meant to cause a public nuisance but only that he acted in with a "reckless disregard" for causing a public nuisance.

Denhardt agreed with prosecutors that they had presented enough evidence to bind the case over to District Court. Earlier, Lander Police Department detective sergeant Fred Cox testified about LPD's investigation. He was not sure about the dates of most of the incidents he talked about, but said he was sure they took place in the therapeutic shop.

One of Cardine's coworkers opened an e-mail from WLRC interim director Rich Dunkley and read it with the defendant, Cox said. A colleague reported Cardine said, "I have a bullet for him," referring to Dunkley.

An affidavit in the case said the comment occurred on Feb. 4.

When authorities arrested Cardine, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives searched his house, Cox said. ATF found several silencers and an AR-15-style rifle converted from semi-automatic action to full automatic, the detective said.

Cardine also destroyed WLRC property on two occasions, Cox said.

On Jan. 27, Cardine cut his finger on a tool, got angry, and hammered a punch tool through the surface of a work bench, Cox said. The next day, the defendant cut his eye on a soap dispenser, so he tore the dispenser off a wall.

Afterward, a coworker overheard Cardine say he would "rather put a .45(-caliber gun) in his mouth than stay employed at the therapeutic shop," Cox said.

Cardine also told coworkers if he was terminally ill he would try to "take out as many people as he could," Cox said.

Cardine made a statement in February 2012 overheard by coworkers about pointing a gun at another supervisor and going "boom," Cox said.

WLRC staff felt threatened by the defendant, the detective said. Dunkley decided to stay at a Lander motel for a few days rather than live at a residence provided for him on the WLRC campus, Cox said.

WLRC also installed security cameras, changed the locks on the therapeutic shop door, and brought in a psychologist to speak with staff distraught over the incidents, the detective said.

One employee took to carrying a pistol in his truck. Others said they would not work at WLRC if Cardine remained employed there, Cox said.

An affidavit in the case stated that Lander police learned on Feb. 6 that Cardine was suspended from his job. The document also related an incident in which coworkers saw Cardine make firearm silencers and a bayonet at the therapeutic shop sometime before Jan. 3, the scope of the terroristic threat charge.

If convicted, Cardine would face a maximum penalty of three years in prison. The date for his arraignment in District Court has not been set.

Cardine had worked at the WLRC since 2003, and his position most recently had been senior fabricator, Wyoming Department of Health spokeswoman Kim Deti. She declined further comment.

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