Man Who Threatened Judge Arrested After Hours-long Standoff in Athol, Massachusetts

Athol resident Jeffrey Wheeler, 56, was arrested early Friday after an hours-long standoff with state police

A man who allegedly threatened a judge was arrested early Friday after an hours-long standoff overnight in Athol, Massachusetts.

The suspect, identified as 56-year-old Jeffrey Wheeler, was arrested at 3 a.m. after Massaachusetts State Police troopers forced their way into his home. State police used a stun gun to apprehend Wheeler, who was described as "hostile."

"They tried to get him out for a few hours," said next door neighbor Wendy Woodbury. "They had two different negotiators and he just wouldn't come out."

"They had a battering ram and they popped the inner door and the glass," added neighbor Al Dargelis.

An arrest warrant for Wheeler was issued Thursday after an investigation concluded that he had made threats against a state judge. The investigation found that the suspect’s license to carry a gun had recently been revoked, but officials suspected that he still had access to a firearm.

The Essex County District Attorney's Office says Wheeler had a warrant out of Newbury District Court for two counts of witness intimidation and one count of threatening to commit a crime.

At approximately 7 p.m. Thursday, state troopers found Wheeler’s vehicle outside his home and set up a perimeter around his residence. Officials attempted to persuade Wheeler to surrender, but he refused.

Wheeler was taken to a nearby hospital for examination and is expected to be arraigned on Friday.

Because he allegedly threatened an employee at Newbury District Court, Wheeler will be arraigned Monday at Lawrence District Court.

Police did not release the judge's name. It could not immediately be determined if Wheeler had a lawyer.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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