Alleged threat to ‘crucify’ Wake judge follows contempt charge, jail term

Keith Pardee Kemsley’s relationship with Wake County District Court Judge Ned Mangum dates back to 2015, when the judge extended a domestic violence protective order his wife filed against him and then ordered him to serve a 30-day jail sentence for violating the conditions of that order.

Mangum also ordered that Kemsley, 52, of Mebane should be evaluated for mental health and anger management issues, “if possible,” according to a criminal contempt order the judge signed. Kemsley’s ex-wife sought the protective order less than two months after their divorce in 2014.

Last Wednesday, Wake County sheriff’s deputies arrested Kemsley and charged him with one felony count of threatening an executive legal court officer with Twitter posts they said were directed toward the judge. They say Kemsley wrote, “#CRUCIFY YOU YES#MACON (sic) I MEAN THAT IN THE BIBLICAL SENSE,” and “PUTTING HIM UP ON A CRUCIFIX WILL BE MY PLEASURE.”

The arrest warrant did not say why Kemsley allegedly wrote the tweets. But Kemsley’s experience with Mangun was apparently rooted in discord with his former wife, Jennifer Kemsley, whom he divorced in 2014, according to records filed at the Wake County Clerk of Courts Office.

Keith and Jennifer Kemsley separated in July 2011 after 18 years of marriage. Keith Kemsley filed for a divorce, claiming that his wife made his life “intolerable” and “burdensome.”Testy court proceedings about the couple’s finances ended with the divorce in August 2014.

On Oct. 26, 2014, Jennifer Kemsley filed for a domestic violence protective order that cited “continual harassment” from her former husband “that had risen to such a level to inflict substantial emotional distress.” She wrote that her ex-husband was text messaging her, leaving threatening notes in her mailbox, showing up at her job at a North Raleigh Food Lion to talk with her managers and leaving her attorney “negative and demanding messages.”

“He has made me scared, worried that he is going to hurt me and make me lose my job,” she wrote. “Leave me alone.”

Jennifer Kemsley was initially granted a protective order for one month. That order was extended for a year on Nov. 5, 2014. Mangum did not sign either order.

Three days before the protective order, Raleigh police had charged Kemsley with one count of second-degree trespassing after he “unlawfully” entered Food Lion on Fall River Avenue where his ex-wife worked. The store’s manager called police, according to the arrest warrant.

Kemsley was arrested Oct. 25 and released from jail the next day after he posted a $1,000 bond, according to the arrest warrant. The trespassing charge was dismissed in March 2015 after Kemsley agreed to abide by the terms of the protective order.

Keith Kemsley was not mollified by the dismissal. He declared on his Facebook page what he described as a “social media war against Food Lion,” after the grocery chain set up a booth at the N.C. State Fair. Court records show that Kemsley reference the terrorist group ISIS for help.

“I am not allowed to have a firearm due to the restraining order the EX put on me,” he wrote. “So I am CALLING ISIS TO THE FAIR TO THREATEN the safety and security of ALL fair-goers since I would rather DIE than get pinned with a Trespassing charge,” referring to the charge that had been dismissed.

“Where the F### is ISIS when you want to kill someone?!” he later wrote.

A Facebook friend replied, “I think you should delete this particular post bud ... asap.”

The protective order was extended for two more years by Mangum on Nov. 5, 2015, after Jennifer Kemsley reported that her ex-husband had followed her to work, according to a motion to renew the order.

Six days later, on Nov. 11, Mangum sentenced Kemsley to 30 days in the county jail for criminal contempt of the protective order. Mangum determined that Kemsley had engaged in a pattern of harassment that included describing his former wife as “my favorite sociopath” during a Wake County domestic violence court hearing, where he also told her to “bring your victim act.”

Mangum also stated that Kemsley was “calling on Isis to shoot people at the State Fair,” according to the contempt order.

It’s not clear what would have prompted Kemsley to allegedly threaten Mangum last week. On Tuesday, Kemsley wrote on his Instagram account that he was on his way to see “the Wake County Magistrate and file #conspiracy charges against #corrupt Raleigh Judge Ned Mangum and Attorney Gregory Seibert. #LetsRoll.”

Seibert had been Kemsley’s attorney at one point. On Oct. 3, 2015, Kemsley wrote a letter accusing Seibert of “treachery” for putting Food Lion’s priorities ahead of his own because he did legal work for the grocery chain, court records show. The month before, Kemsley had filed a complaint with the N.C. State Bar, accusing Seibert of “inadequate counsel” and bullying him into accepting the terms of his ex-wife’s protective order “without challenging it whatsoever.”

Seibert withdrew as Kemsley’s attorney on Sept. 16, 2015, according to a motion he filed at the clerk’s office. In his motion, Seibert advised Kemsley or anyone working on his behalf “to leave this alone until your year is up.” Two months later, Mangum extended the protective order against Kemsley and sentenced him to jail.

Mangum has been a district court judge since 2008. In 2014, he served as Wake County's interim district attorney after Colon Willoughby, a 27-year-veteran, left office before the end of his elected term.

Thomasi McDonald: 919-829-4533, @thomcdonald