Threats against Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane lead to federal charges

ablythe@newsobserver.comApril 7, 2014 

Alec Dane Redner: 2/20/2014, at 3301 HAMMOND RD RALEIGH, NC 27603. 6'01", 200. Charged with: OBSTRUCT JUSTICE.

— The 27-year-old man accused of threatening the Raleigh mayor on her political website is scheduled to be in federal court in two weeks.

Alec Dane Redner, a North Raleigh man, has been incarcerated since mid-January on accusations that he posted a death threat to Mayor Nancy McFarlane on her political website.

Redner’s case began in state courts, but prosecutors dismissed the state allegations of communicating threats, threatening an executive, legal or court officer and obstruction of justice after a federal grand jury indicted him in March. Federal authorities arrested Redner in the Wake County jail on March 31. A detention hearing took place in a federal courtroom Thursday.

In arguing against pretrial release, prosecutors outlined the history of Redner’s arrest. On Jan. 14 at about 7 p.m., two police detectives went to 11024 Brass Kettle Road, the North Raleigh home where Redner lived with his mother.

The investigators were there for a “knock and talk” session with Redner about comments posted to McFarlane’s website that troubled the mayor and police. A woman peered through a window, and investigators said they heard a man using profanity including a slur against the mayor.

The investigators left, according to the court documents, out of concern for their safety and that of the defendant’s mother. Officers knew that Redner had fled from police previously and at one time had an assault rifle.

A Minnesota native who also lived in North Dakota before Raleigh, Redner has had several skirmishes with the law.

On May 6, 2010, N.C. law enforcement authorities have said, Redner avoided a DWI checkpoint and led deputies on a car chase. When the deputies apprehended Redner, they found an AR-15 assault rifle and “anti-government documents and literature related to the Aryan Nation” in his car, court records show.

He was convicted of driving while intoxicated, speeding to elude arrest and reckless driving and was sentenced to five months in prison. He was also ordered to undergo a mental health assessment and treatment while in custody, according to state corrections officials.

In the January incident, a larger group of officers returned to the home later than evening, according to the documents, and Redner fled through the back door. Law enforcement officers explained to Redner’s mother that they had come to look into the message posted on the mayor’s website.

Investigators left to get a search warrant, according to the documents, and returned shortly after midnight Jan. 15.

Redner’s mother and a male friend of hers were handcuffed, according to prosecutors, after the mother cursed at officers and called them “Nazi storm troopers” who were “working for criminals.”

The search, according to the federal court documents, uncovered several laptops, but none that contained the message to the mayor’s website. Investigators also found a shotgun that belonged to the friend of the mother and multiple rounds of ammunition in Redner’s room, according to court documents.

The investigators noted what Redner’s mother called her son’s “go bag” – a bag containing supplies including propane tanks and MREs, or meals ready to eat. Redner was arrested Jan. 16.

Letter from jail intercepted

Prosecutors contend that nearly a month later, he sent his mother a letter from Wake County jail, asking her to destroy a laptop that he allegedly hid in a crawl space at the house.

In subsequent correspondence, Redner wrote, he would ask his mother: “Did Dad get my letter?” She was to respond “yes” if she had destroyed the laptop. Wake County investigators intercepted the letter and searched the crawl space, retrieving a laptop.

Because the letter was intercepted, the mother did not understand a phone call from her son six days later in which he asked a question about “Dad” getting a letter. The mother was heard, according to court documents, telling her son that police had planted the laptop pulled from the crawl space.

Blythe: 919-836-4948; Twitter: @AnneBlythe1

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