Warrant: Letter to mom tipped Raleigh police to suspect's hidden computer
Posted February 20, 2014
Updated March 3, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — A man accused of threatening Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane faces a new charge after police found a laptop hidden in the crawl space of his home.
Alec Dane Redner, 27, of 11024 Brass Kettle Road, was arrested last month on charges of communicating threats and threatening an executive, legal or court officer. He remains in the Wake County Detention Center under a $250,000 bond.
Police said Redner posted a message to McFarlane's political website that read, “You make a joke about the U.S. Constitution but soon you will (be) on the other end of the barrel.” The message also referred to the mayor by a crude name and told her to “watch out.”
Investigators searched the home he shares with his parents before his Jan. 15 arrest and seized several computers, but the crawl space was never searched, according to an affidavit for a warrant to allow police to return to the house for a second search.
Redner wrote a letter to his mother last Friday with instructions on where to find a laptop in "the underground basement" and asking her to destroy the device, the affidavit states. He then planned to communicate in code with her to confirm that it had been destroyed.
Detention center personnel intercepted and reviewed the letter, which is standard protocol for inmate communications, and turned it over to police on Tuesday, according to the affidavit. Investigators seized a Toshiba laptop from the home Wednesday.
Redner's mother, Deborah Singer, couldn't be reached Thursday for comment.
Defense attorney Collin Cook said he hasn't yet seen the letter, but said he would be disappointed if it turned out Redner tried to send it.
"It would throw another level of complexity into this case," Cook said.
The alleged scheme to get rid of the laptop led police to file a felony obstruction of justice charge against Redner late Thursday.
"I can't really comment about the evidence in this case, but what I can say is that we take a lot of precautions to make sure folks, when they're in jail, can't affect evidence outside of jail," Wake County Assistant District Attorney Boz Zellinger said.
McFarlane hasn't spoken publicly about the incident, but prosecutors told a judge during Redner's recent bond hearing that the mayor told them she was terrified for her safety and the safety of her family.
"In these types of cases, victims go through a terrifying experience, and the only help we can give them is let them know Raleigh police and other investigative agencies are doing everything they can to keep them safe," Zellinger said.
Investigators also obtained a second search warrant to access a Yahoo email account linked to Redner.
Redner's next court date is March 3.