Feds: Defendant in sheriff-threat case used smartphone against judge’s order

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Jaydin Ledford, left, and Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich

SPOKANE — The man accused of making online death threats against Washington sheriffs won’t face jail time for violating his conditions of release.

Twenty-three-year-old Jaydin Ledford of Omak is scheduled for federal trial March 2, for allegedly threatening Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich and others over their opposition to Washington gun law I-1639. He’s allowed to remain out of custody until then, under a judge’s orders not to access the Internet.

But federal court supervisors say Ledford accessed the Internet using a smartphone in November, violating the order. Court records show Ledford admitted Nov. 5 to possessing the phone and promised to return it, but still had it and admitted using it for online purposes when a pretrial services officer visited him again Nov. 19.

Court agents reported the violation to Magistrate Judge John T. Rodgers, who ruled Nov. 22 that Ledford won’t be penalized, and opted to let him remain free ahead of trial.

Police and federal agents arrested Ledford at his Omak home Feb. 20, saying he made a Facebook post Feb. 1 saying “Ozzie Knezovich is gonna get a bullet in his skull.” The next day he allegedly posted, “I1639 is law. sheriffs that are non compliant will be shot. by me.”

I-1639, approved by 60 percent of Washington voters, expanded background checks for firearms purchases, placed sales requirements on firearms dealers, raised the minimum age for buying semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21, mandated safety courses and created new regulations on gun storage.

Some Washington sheriffs, including Tom Jones of Grant County, have said they will not enforce the new law; Knezovich publicly questioned its constitutionality.

A federal grand jury indicted Ledford last March on one count of cyberstalking and two counts of threats in interstate communications.