Mental evaluation ordered for man who called in threats -, GA News Weather & Sports

Mental evaluation ordered for man who called in threats

By Laurie Bernstein - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Michael Hale, the man accused of threatening the Columbus Social Security Office, made his first appearance in Federal Court Tuesday.

A probable cause hearing was postponed, after both the defense and prosecution agreed to a mental evaluation of Hale before going any further with the case.

FBI agents were alerted to Hale's possible threats Wednesday, August 5th, when an operator at a call center in Pennsylvania received a call from Hale.

The woman says Hale threatened her, then said he would go to the Social Security office and kill everyone.

FBI agents say Hale was a former Gulf War veteran, who was upset about getting denied his disability claim.

Hale had been convicted of a drug felony in 2004, and his benefits were suspended for the last five years, and have not been reinstated yet.

During a search of his home in Midland, sources tell WTVM several weapons were found inside, although they believe Hale did not have a coordinated plan in place to attack the Social Security Office.

Richard Hagler, Hale's attorney, says his client has a history of mental illness, and if a threat was indeed made, it was taken the wrong way.

Hagler also says there is no actual recording of the phone call, so it is the operator's word against Hale's.

Hale will remain in federal custody until his mental evaluation, which will be completed in Miami.

Depending on the results, the court will move forward with his case, either to a probable cause hearing, or if an indictment is served, an arraignment hearing.

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