BURLINGTON — A Vermont inmate with a history of threatening public officials, including former President George W. Bush, and plotting to blow up a mosque in Dearborn, Mich., could soon be living in a community facility in Burlington for people with serious mental illnesses.
A federal judge ruled Monday that Roger Stockham, 65, could be released to a community facility as long as he takes his medications.
He was being held Tuesday at the Northwest State Correctional Facility in St. Albans, and it wasn’t clear when he would be released to Safe Haven, a facility run by the Howard Center in Burlington.
“If you don’t take the medications you’re going to be coming back to court immediately,” U.S. District Court Judge William Sessions III told Stockham. “If you take the medications, all signs are you will do very well.”
The Burlington Free Press reported that the Michigan case against Stockham was heard in Vermont because Stockham was free on conditions from an earlier federal case in the state when authorities say the threat was made against the mosque in Dearborn, the nation’s largest.
Stockham was arrested Jan. 24, 2011, outside the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn. Police found fireworks in his vehicle. At the time, the mosque was preparing to host a funeral, expected to draw a large number of Muslims. In that case, Stockham pleaded guilty but mentally ill and was placed in federal custody.
Court documents allege Stockham made threats in 2002 to blow up the Veterans Administration hospital in White River Junction and kill then-President Bush. He pleaded guilty by reason of insanity and was held for three years before being released on probation.
Stockham’s criminal history also includes a guilty plea to charges that he took a California psychiatrist hostage in 1977; a conviction on charges that he set several oil tanks ablaze in Lompoc, Calif., in 1979; and a conviction on charges that he planted a bomb in an airport garbage can in Reno, Nev., in 1985.
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