Mebane man threatens to crucify Wake judge
Posted 10:12 a.m. Thursday
Updated 4:52 p.m. Thursday
Raleigh, N.C. — A Mebane man was charged Wednesday with making online threats against a Wake County District Court judge who had ruled against him in a dispute with his estranged wife.
Keith Pardee Kemsley, 52, faces a charge of threatening a legal court officer.
An arrest warrant said Kemsley threatened Judge Ned Mangum, posting "#crucify you yes ... I meant that in the Biblical sense" and "putting him up on a crucifix will be my pleasure" on social media.
"When you start to talk about inflicting physical harm, inflicting bodily harm on somebody, that crosses the line under our law," Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said.
Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said deputies questioned Kemsley after getting a complaint about some of his posts, and he readily admitted to making them. Harrison said Kemsley continued to post increasingly violent messages online after that, so he was arrested.
"Is it a viable threat?" the sheriff said. "That's where the law comes in."
Kemsley made a series of Twitter posts Tuesday and Wednesday calling Mangum a liar and asking Freeman and U.S. Sen. Richard Burr to investigate the judge.
"DA Freeman, as long as Mangum is there you are the #WakeCountyDepartmentofPublicDanger maybe you didn't hear about the Mazzella's," read one tweet.
Another stated, "DA Freeman, does Mangum have any ties to killer Sander? You Might want to get out in front of this or you might not get re-elected."
The tweets reference the March 25, 2016, shooting deaths of Elaine Toby Mazzella, 76, Sandy Mazzella, 47, and Stephanie Ann Mazzella, 43, in their Wake Forest home. Neighbor Jon Sander has been charged in the case.
The Mazzellas obtained a no-contact order against Sander the previous month following an earlier dispute, but Mangum refused to extend it, and it expired the day before the shootings, according to court records.
Yet, court records show Kemsley had his own beef with Mangum aside from any interest in the Wake Forest case.
Kemsley's wife obtained a domestic violence protection order against him in October 2015, and Mangum later extended it to November 2017.
The order states Kemsley's "conduct is wildly erratic" and that his wife fears for her life, noting that he posted online threats against her.
Court records show he was charged with trespassing in October 2015 after he followed his wife to her workplace in north Raleigh. When he got kicked off the property, he posted angry messages online and wrote a letter stating that he would try to get ISIS to come to the State Fair to attack people.
A criminal contempt complaint was filed against Kemsley with Wendell police in October 2015, and the court ordered him to be evaluated for mental health and anger management issues, according to records.
Another judge granted Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman's request that Kemsley's bond be doubled, from $500,000 to $1 million. Freeman said court officials deserve protection.
"Where you see that very personal impact of the decisions that someone in a judge's role has made on someone and you see that individual responding in a way that really embodies threats of physical violence, those are the types of things our laws are designed to try to prevent and to stop and for which there's got to be an accountability," she said. "This is, at the end of the day, about maintaining the safety of the public and our judicial officials."
If Kemsley is able to post bond, he was ordered to stay off social media until his trial.