Texas briefs: Bail denied for theorist who claims church shooting never happened

ASSOCIATED PRESS

A federal judge today denied bail to a conspiracy theorist who claims the November mass shooting in which 26 people were killed at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs never took place.

During a hearing today, testimony that agents found 10 guns and nearly 1,000 rounds of ammo at the Lockhart home of Robert Mikell Ussery after his arrest on May 23 helped sway U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry Bemporad to deny Ussery release on bail. The judge agreed with federal prosecutors that Ussery may be a danger to the community.

Ussery, 54, who refers to himself as “Side Thorn Journalist,” and his girlfriend, Jodi Mann, known as “Conspiracy Granny,” were initially arrested March 5 on state charges of resisting arrest, trespassing and other counts after allegedly walking onto the church’s lawn and confronting Pastor Frank Pomeroy, whose daughter was among those killed by a gunman.

Special agent Kaitlyn O’Connell with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said the feds were called in by Texas Rangers after the incident.

“He was talking about the mass shooting,” O’Connell said. “He was saying it didn’t actually happen and that it was a hoax.”

Though the pair made bail on the state charges, the matter resulted in a restraining order being issued against them, according to testimony and court records.

During the incident, the pair had Go-Pro video recording equipment that recorded the encounter, which helped agents develop a federal case against him. When ATF agents reviewed the video, it showed Ussery handled a gun by the pickup the pair were in, placed it under a mat in the truck and told Mann that if there’s a question about the gun by police, Mann should claim ownership, O’Connell testified.

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