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Threat suspect pleads not guilty

YOUNGSTOWN — James P. Reardon of New Middletown appeared before a federal magistrate Wednesday, pleading not guilty to making threats against the Jewish Community Center. He was ordered to remain in the custody of the U.S. Marshal’s Service pending trial.

Reardon, 20, was arraigned before Magistrate George Limbert in the Thomas Lambros Federal Courthouse, with David Toepfer, an assistant U.S. attorney, as prosecutor and defense attorneys Ross Smith and Edward Czopur representing Reardon. The hearing took five minutes.

He pleaded not guilty to one count of transmitting a threatening communication and one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.

The first charge centers on a video that mentions shooting, the JCC and white nationalism. The second charge alleges Reardon possessed a firearm from about July 11 to Aug. 16.

New Middletown police Chief Vincent D’Egidio said his department became aware of Reardon’s threats against the Youngstown Jewish Community Center when an acquaintance of Reardon’s approached one of his part-time officers Aug. 16 with concerns about a video she saw on Reardon’s Instagram account. D’Egidio described the woman as a previous friend of Reardon’s who was being continually bothered by him.

According to the unsealed federal complaint, Reardon held a rifle in multiple firing positions with audio of gunshots and sound effects of sirens and people screaming in the background.

The video also had a caption that notes, in part, “the police have identified the shooter of the Youngstown Jewish Family Community Center as local white nationalist Sheamus O’Reardon,” according to FBI Special Agent Eric B. Smith.

After viewing the video, D’Egidio contacted the Youngstown office of the FBI and obtained a search warrant from Struthers Municipal Court. Law enforcement officers found an AR-15 assault rifle, an MP-40 submachine gun, numerous Nazi World War II propaganda posters, a rifle bayonet, a Hitler Youth knife and other vintage military equipment in his basement.

“Many of the items were used in the threat video,” Smith said.

Reardon pulled up while officers were searching the house. He was arrested without incident.

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