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Holland man charged with threatening to shoot, kill elected officials

File graphic: Jail and handcuffs
Posted at 1:26 PM, Mar 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-16 17:03:49-04

HOLLAND, Mich. — Editor's note: a previous version of this story misspelled the defendant's name based on a misspelling by the Michigan Attorney General's Office.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has charged a Holland man for allegedly making death threats against President Joe Biden, U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Joshua Docter, 21, faces one count of threat of terrorism and one count of using a computer to commit a crime, both of which are 20-year felonies, according to a news release Tuesday.

Charges were filed Monday in Ottawa County 58th District Court.

Docter turned himself in Tuesday and was arraigned on the charges before Judge Bradley Knoll.

The case was initiated by an FBI investigation, which followed up on tips it received about threatening posts Docter allegedly made on the social media platform, iFunny.

Michigan State Police continued the investigation and referred the case to the Michigan Department of Attorney General for prosecution.

“Threatening elected officials is against the law and my office will prosecute those who attempt to intimidate or terrorize our state and federal leaders,” Nessel said. “I appreciate the thorough investigative work by the FBI and Michigan State Police on this case, and I consider it another excellent example of showcasing the dedication that those working in law enforcement have to protecting the public.”

Docter's family released a statement regarding the charges.

"As a family, we were shocked to learn of the charges against our son," Bret and Erin Docter said. "We are in process of evaluating them and working with legal counsel to consider our next steps. We respectfully ask for privacy at this most difficult time."

Docter allegedly posted multiple threatening comments on iFunny back in January.

According to investigators, Docter stated in those posts he would use a gun to shoot and kill the elected officials and would “be a catalyst” for a new American revolution.

Police also found information on how to make a bomb and where to find the necessary materials on Docter's smartphone.

He’s scheduled to appear for a probable cause conference on April 8 and a preliminary exam on April 15.

Read the full charging document here.