Death threats in Kobe case net another man
Federal authorities arrested another man for allegedly threatening to kill people involved with the Kobe Bryant rape case.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office is expected to announce this morning that the suspect is accused of threatening to kill staff members of the District Attorney’s Office prosecuting the case, as well as the “outcry witness,” bellman Bob Pietrack of Eagle.
Sources told the Vail Daily that the FBI arrested a man for making several death threats against District Attorney Mark Hurlbert, people in the office, and Pietrack. The man in custody reportedly threatened to kill Pietrack the same way former Baylor University basketball player Patrick Dennehy was killed. Dennehy was found dead of gunshot wounds to the head last July near Waco, Texas. Carlton Dotson, Dennehy’s roommate and former teammate, was arrested and charged with his murder on July 21.
“We certainly do appreciate their help in dealing with anyone making threats, and support the U.S. Attorney’s Office and FBI in all their efforts,” said Hurlbert.
Hurlbert said things had quieted down a little, and that his office had received no threats in a couple of months until this latest round.
Support Local Journalism
Jeff Dorschner of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Denver said he could not confirm or deny anything until Friday.
The man has not yet been identified, but sources told the Daily he was arrested in Long Beach, Calif.
Bryant’s defense team was upset by the development and called it “unwelcome news.”
“These kinds of cases attract this kind of bizarre, nut stuff,” said attorney Harold Haddon, who along with Pamela Mackey is defending Bryant.
Sources told the Daily that this time, the alleged victim was not among those whose life was threatened.
Three times threatened
This latest man taken into custody is the third man arrested for making death threats against people connected with the Bryant case.
Federal authorities arrested John William Roche, 22, Iowa City, Iowa, for leaving a telephone message saying he would kill the 19-year-old Eagle woman who accused Bryant of raping her June 30 in his room at the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera. He said the two had consensual sex.
Bryant’s alleged victim received the message on her answering machine. Dorschner said Roche’s death threat landed in federal court because it involved interstate traffic. Roche made his threat during a July 27, 2003, telephone call from Iowa to Eagle County.
In a separate case, Bryant’s attorneys alerted federal authorities that a Swiss bodybuilder with an expired visa had offered to kill Bryant’s alleged victim for $3 million.
Patrick Graber, 31, was charged with solicitation to commit murder.
Graber was arrested in El Segundo, south of Los Angeles, as he reached for a bag filled with fake money. Federal authorities said agreed to a deal in which he would receive $1 million up front and $2 million after the killing.
Detectives concluded Graber was “a credible threat.” They contacted Hurlbert’s ‘s office and the accuser’s family to tell them about it.
Besides the direct death threats, police records show the someone in the alleged victim’s house have called police at least twice to report suspicious incidents.