PORT ANGELES — A Port Angeles High School substitute teacher who allegedly threatened by text message to kill people on a hit list, including a Forks man, was in the Clallam County jail Tuesday on $20,000 bond.
Jesse Adams Gray, 38, of Port Angeles, was charged with harassment-threats to kill in criminal information filed Tuesday in Clallam County Superior Court.
The maximum penalty is five years and $10,000 fine.
“[It’s] going to be terrible on all the national news channels,” Gray, who owns a firearm, allegedly said in the Oct. 27 text message to the Forks resident, an adult male.
Gray has been suspended as a substitute teacher until further notice, school district spokesperson Jennifer Sperline said Tuesday.
Judge Brent Basden, citing “great concern” for community safety, quadrupled the $5,000 bond amount requested by Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Matthew Roberson.
Basden also ordered Gray to not have contact with the Forks resident.
The man owns West End property next to land owned by Gray, according to Gray’s lawyer, John Hayden of Clallam Public Defender.
Basden also said Gray could not be on any school district campuses or attend any school district events anywhere, and could not drink alcohol or be in places where alcohol is the primary item of sale.
Gray will be arraigned Nov. 8.
According to jail phone calls made by Gray, he said he sent the text to the Forks resident and a similar text to his parents a day later when he was intoxicated, Roberson said Tuesday during the court hearing.
The following information is from the probable cause statement:
“Hey,” Gray texted the Forks resident.
“I’ve been planning something over the past year or so … since people out here have sabotaged my life … I’m about to act it out in this next year once I’ve got everything to take out everything all the names on my list … just you wait and see it going to be terrible all on the national news channels … just wait and see … you are included. just wait and see!!! lol hahah [expletive deleted] this place !!! Just wait and see.”
The Forks man later received a message from Gray saying he did not have anything to worry about.
The Forks resident “maintains he still had concern for his and others physical safety,” authorities said.
On Oct. 28, the day after the text message was sent, Gray’s parents, who live in North Carolina, contacted the county sheriff’s office to report their son had contacted them the previous week by email or text “making threats about taking people out and getting on the national news.”
“This report was made without the knowledge that [the Forks resident] had an independent encounter with Jesse Gray by cell phone,” the probable cause statement said.
“That really goes to what a person is thinking if they are going to put it out there to that many people,” Clallam County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ed Anderson said Tuesday in an interview.
Gray and the Forks man “have been friends for years,” Hayden said.
“I suspect this is a slightly different kind of situation than it first seems to be,” Hayden said, adding that Gray has no criminal history.
Hayden asked that Gray be released on his own recognizance.
Basden emphasizing Gray had “included” the Forks resident on a list instead of the sole target.
“Frankly, you don’t get on the national news by taking out whatever frustrations … on one individual,” Basden said.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.