WASHINGTON — A Utah man who erupted in a courtroom tirade and later threatened a pretrial services officer will remain in federal custody while he awaits trial on felony charges in connection with the Capitol riot.
Landon Kenneth Copeland, a 33-year-old resident of Hildale, Utah, and Iraq War veteran, was arrested in April on charges alleging he assaulted officers and obstructed law enforcement during civil disorder on January 6. Copeland was granted pretrial release, but quickly began exhibiting behavior that threatened that.
In early May, during a hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robin Meriweather, Copeland launched into a rant about his disapproval of the court and the Department of Justice.
“I’m going to tell you what you’re going to do,” Copeland yelled at Meriweather. “You’re going to give me what the (expletive) I want! You’re going to do what the (expletive) I tell you to do! I’m in the middle of the desert! You can’t (expletive) find me! You can’t (expletive) come get me! You’re going to give me what the (expletive) I want.”
Copeland’s attorney, Ryan Stout, told Meriweather he believed his client was “in some sort of mental crisis” before Copeland hung up and left the hearing.
Less than a week later, Copeland – reportedly enraged by another hearing in which an attorney described a Capitol riot defendant as suffering from “Foxitis” – allegedly drove to the pretrial services office in Utah and threatened his supervisor, saying, “I will eat your flesh for nutrients! You don’t know what I am!”
Copeland’s pretrial release supervisor told Meriweather he said he was “on the edge of a cliff, and willing to end it all if his voice wasn’t heard.”
Following the alleged incident with pretrial services, Copeland was taken back into custody and a D.C. psychologist was ordered to determine whether he was competent to stand trial.
On Friday, Copeland and his attorneys appeared again before Meriweather to argue that he should be granted a second chance at pretrial release. Copeland’s attorneys said since his incarceration his girlfriend had given birth to their child, and also said he had secured housing in a room offered by his employer.
Stout also told Meriweather Copeland “does renounce what he said, with regards to anything that could be interpreted as threatening or wanting violence.”
The DOJ argued Copeland has said in multiple interviews with the media that he “renounced nothing” and that he was saying something different in court. The DOJ also said Copeland has repeatedly refused psychiatric treatment in jail, despite his claims in court that he would accept mental health treatment if granted release.
After a short period of review, Meriweather said Friday she believed the evidence weighed in favor of keeping Copeland detained while he awaits trial.
"I might not find the threat to be as substantial as I do... but Mr. Copeland's conduct on the short time of his pretrial release speaks loudly,” Meriweather said.
After her ruling, Copeland was remanded into the custody of the U.S. Marshal’s Service. He was scheduled to return to court for a preliminary hearing before a district judge on September 27.
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