Omak man who threatened sheriffs to be released Wednesday; his trial is set for May 13

Jaydin Ledford
Roger Harnack

Despite the recent slayings of two deputies in Washington state in less than a month, an Omak man accused of threatening sheriffs will be released from jail Wednesday.

Jaydin Harvey Wesley Ledford, 23, will be allowed to await his May 13, U.S. District Court trial in the comfort of his home. He is charged with two counts of threats in interstate communications and one count of cyberstalking.

U.S. Magistrate Judge John T. Rodgers approved of Ledford's release during a hearing Monday. U.S. District Judge Rosanna Malouf Peterson upheld the decision earlier today.

Court records show Ledford's release order includes a required curfew, GPS monitoring and counseling. He is further prohibited from using the Internet — he made his threats on Facebook.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Cashman called Ledford a “clear and present danger” in opposing Ledford's release.

The release order follows the deaths of deputies in Kittitas and Cowlitz counties.

Cowlitz County deputy Justin DeRosier, 29, of Kelso, was killed while responding to a call of a disabled vehicle late Saturday night. The shooter, Brian Dellaan Butts, 33, of Longview, was killed Sunday by Kelso police following a 22-hour manhunt. On March 19,

Kittitas County deputy Ryan Thompson, 42, of Kittitas was killed during a shootout with an illegal alien during a traffic stop near Kittitas. The suspect, Juan Manuel Flores Toro, 29, who was living in Ellensburg, also died from gunshot wounds he sustained in the shootout.

Ledford investigation

The investigation into Ledford began Feb. 4 after he allegedly made threats to kill sheriffs who did not enforce the new law. He was arrested Feb. 20 in Omak and later transferred to federal custody in Spokane.

Two Eastern Washington sheriffs — Ozzie Knezovich of Spokane County and Tom Jones of Grant County — both received threats after stating they would not enforce the law. Ledford identified Knezovich specifically in one of his social media posts.

“I-1639 is law. Sheriffs that are non compliant will be shot. by me,” was posted on Ledford's Facebook page. “Ozzie Knezovich is gonna get a bullet in his skull.”

Ledford's social media page includes multiple images of Karl Marx. In another post, Ledford is accused of writing, “I really want to kill a police officer.”

His online rants followed sheriffs' refusal to enforce I-1639.

The measure raised the age to purchase semi-automatic rifles to 21, redefines those firearms as “assault rifles,” required more stringent background checks and ordered dealers to also sell trigger locks and gun safes. The law, which partially went into effect Jan. 1, also made gun owners criminally liable if their firearm is used in an incident, even if the gun was stolen.

Twenty-three of the state's 39 sheriffs have stated they would not “actively” enforce the law.

The statewide law was passed on the strength of metropolitan voters in the Puget Sound-area, but was roundly rejected by Eastern Washington voters.