Metro-East News

Man accused of threatening to kill Trump voted GOP, had run-ins with police


Joseph L. Pickett
Joseph L. Pickett

An Edwardsville man who police say threatened to kill President Donald Trump hasn’t voted since the 2012 general election, and in the 2008 primary, he took a Republican ballot.

Joseph L. Pickett, 45, did not vote in either the primary or general elections in 2016. In 2008, he only voted in the primary, and took a Republican ballot. He took a Democratic ballot in the 1992 primary.

Pickett threatened on social media to kill the president, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court. Two co-workers alerted authorities to the his posts.

Before living in Edwardsville, Pickett lived in Troy. Police responded to Pickett’s home on Webster Street 19 times between 1999 and 2007 for various calls including suicide threats and aggravated assault.

In July 2007, police took Pickett into custody because he was standing in the street and screaming. Officers brought him to the police station, where he took a swing at an officer. Pickett missed, but was charged with two counts of disorderly conduct, aggravated assault and property damage.

The property damage and aggravated assault charges were dropped as part of a plea deal, and Pickett pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct. A judge ordered court supervision for Pickett and a $100 fine.

Pickett has been divorced twice — once in 1999 and again in 2001.

The criminal complaint included screenshots of Pickett’s Facebook posts.

“Before I die I want our president and congress to sign a treaty to never side with Russia or any enemy of the United States of America! If one will then that person deserves to be shot,” one of his posts read. “Guess what Trump? I’m waiting for the right time...and I KNOW your (sic) Putin’s (expletive)! The secret service now has a heads up as to my plan to assassinate Trump...let’s see if they act.”

In a financial affidavit, in which Pickett requested a public defender to represent him in the new case, Pickett wrote that he received food stamps and is unemployed. He also stated that he has medical bills totaling $150,000.

Pickett will be detained until his trial. A judge ruled that Pickett should be detained because the court couldn’t ensure the safety of other people in the community and because of “mental instability.”

Threatening to kill the president of the United States is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.