Omak man pleads guilty to threatening Spokane sheriff over firearms law

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Jaydin Ledford, left, and Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich

SPOKANE — The Omak man who threatened Washington sheriffs over their refusal to enforce a new gun safety law pleaded guilty Wednesday to a federal crime.

Jaydin Harvey Wesley Ledford, 24, entered a plea in Spokane federal court to one count of making threats by interstate communication. Ledford posted on Facebook in Feburary 2019 that he would assassinate sheriffs, including Ozzie Knezovich of Spokane County, who voiced opposition to I-1639 — the voter-approved firearms law that passed in 2018.

The single charge in Ledford’s plea agreement specifies the threat he posted against Knezovich: “O.K. is gonna get a bullet in his skull.” When FBI agents arrested and interviewed Ledford, according to court records, he admitted making the threat and said, “I kind of do really want to kill him.”

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, said they would not enforce the new law; Knezovich publicly questioned its constitutionality. After the Facebook threats emerged, a federal grand jury indicted Ledford in March on one count of cyberstalking and two counts of threats in interstate communications.

The interstate threat charge carries up to five years in prison and five on probation, but U.S. attorneys agreed to drop the other two charges against Ledford, and recommend a reduced sentencing option that could take up to six months off any prison term. His sentencing is scheduled for May 5 before U.S. District Judge Rosanna Malouf Peterson. He remains free on court supervision.