DEER PARK, Ohio – Ebola, evil voices and the devil.
Those are just a few of the things a Butler County bartender cited as reasons he was going to kill House Speaker John Boehner this past fall, federal agents said.
Michael Robert Hoyt, 44, was indicted Jan. 7 on charges of threatening to murder the congressman in a plot police said included poisoning his drink at a country club.
Hoyt served drinks to Boehner for more than five years at the Wetherington Country Club in West Chester and was known as “Bartender Mike” to employees there.
Hoyt called police on Oct. 29, a week after being fired from the club, and blamed Boehner for his woes, police said.
When officers visited Hoyt at his home on Matson Avenue in Deer Park, they said the plot thickened.
“Hoyt told the officer he was Jesus Christ and he was going to kill Boehner because Boehner was mean to him at the country club and because Boehner is responsible for Ebola,” United States Capitol Police (USCP) Special Agent Christopher M. Desrosiers said. “Hoyt advised he had a loaded Beretta .380 automatic and he was going to shoot Boehner and take off.”
Officers said Hoyt told them he regretted not having enough time to put something in Boehner’s drink. It was also discovered Hoyt emailed Boehner’s wife about the plot a day before he called police, Desrosiers said.
The following is an email conversation between Debbie Boehner and Hoyt on Oct. 28, according to investigators:
Hoyt: “Mr. Boehner, I sincerely do not want to embarrass anyone. I am willing to drop all of this if you and Dr. Bob Buring deliver my termination report to me personally, or transport me to a secure location where the three of us can have an honest conversation. If I had any intention of hurting Mr. Boehner, I could have poisoned his wine at Wetherington many, many times. I do not believe I have lied about anything nor exaggerated. This is extremely urgent. Tuesday. Earlier the better. Talk to Dr. Bob Buring. PLEASE!!! We can work together and succeed or …..fail miserably. My phone died. I am at home. I have a dog and cat so please do not bust in. I will leave my lights on inside and out all night. You probably already know where I live. REDACTED Matson Ave. Deer Park, Ohio.”
Debbie Boehner: “What is this about??”
Hoyt: “Mrs. Boehner, I was fired. I could not email Mr. Boehner directly because of the zip code block on his email. It doesn’t matter anyway. If he took a real interest in anything he would insure his Club was better than the Country, but they are exactly the same and life goes on SSDD. Sincerely, Mike. Mike, your former bartender.”
Hoyt said he started to hear the devil’s voice from the speakers in his car and his radio at home after he was fired. The voices were telling him that Boehner was evil, Desrosiers said.
He told investigators he dialed 911 because he believed evil people were going to “come chop him up,” and he was trying to expose Boehner as the devil, according to court documents obtained by WCPO.
Desrosiers said Hoyt also typed an 11-page blog detailing his thoughts about Boehner being the devil. Hoyt emailed it to his father, ex-girlfriend and neighbor.
Hoyt said he used to pour wine for Boehner often and could have easily poisoned his drink, but didn’t, special agents said.
He said no one checked the drinks he poured for Boehner, and it would have been “very easy to slip something in,” according to Desrosiers.
Hoyt also told agents he imagined a scenario where he confronted Boehner about Ebola in front of one of the sports stadiums in downtown Cincinnati. He said he wanted large crowds to be present.
Hoyt volunteered to be taken to University of Cincinnati Medical Center for psychiatric evaluation after police confronted him in October.
Deer Park police signed a 72-hour hold on Hoyt at the psychiatric ward and recovered the .380 handgun from his home for safekeeping, officials said.
At the hospital’s psych ward, Hoyt told FBI agents his supervisor fired him from his bartending job because he had a bad attitude at work and several club members complained about him.
“Hoyt was visibly upset talking about being fired and about the circumstances surrounding it,” Desrosiers said. “He believes John Boehner and other members of the country club got him fired.”
Hoyt was treated for a psychotic episode about two years ago and was under “significant duress” during that time, agents said.
He was prescribed medication, but voluntarily stopped taking it after about six months, according to the FBI. Officials said he also admitted to having suicidal thoughts from time to time, but did not act on them.
Police searched Hoyt’s home on Oct. 31 and seized an SKS assault rifle magazine, two boxes of 7.62 ammo, 35 loose rounds, a speed loader and a box of .380 rounds. A notebook containing “John Boehner” and “Ebola” were among other writings found during the search, as well as two envelopes with lists of country club members, according to documents.
Agents said they also found a bullet hole in the upper wall of Hoyt’s first-floor bedroom.
Officers said they later recovered Hoyt's SKS assault rifle at his mother’s home in Hebron, Ky. She told investigators she removed it from his home while he wasn’t there because she noticed he was not eating or sleeping and becoming increasingly agitated, Desrosiers said.
Hoyt's mother declined to discuss her son and the pending case against him with WCPO.
National opponents of gun violence said Wednesday the threat against Boehner's life was a "wake-up" call to Congress to expand background checks when purchasing weapons.
Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said stronger background checks would save lives.
“Hopefully, the Republican Congress will heed this indictment of the Speaker’s would-be assassin as a wake-up call to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, including felons, fugitives, domestic abusers and the severely mentally ill," Gross said.
Boehner told agents he knew Hoyt as the bartender at the West Chester country club, but did not remember any negative interactions with him. The West Chester native was in Cincinnati the weekend of Nov. 1-4 to go to a Bengals game and to vote in his district.
The FBI said Hoyt was indicted and taken into custody because he poses a “current and ongoing credible” threat to Boehner and was in the position to learn his travel and leisure habits.
He is currently being evaluated at the Federal Medical Center, Devens, a prison in Massachusetts for male inmates requiring specialized or long-term medical or mental health care.
Hoyt was sent to the prison on Dec. 16 so officials could determine whether he is "suffering from a mental disease or defect rendering him mentally incompetent to the extent that he is unable to understand the nature and consequences of the proceedings against him," according to court documents.
He was ordered to stay there for no more than 45 days and could be relocated to another facility soon, documents state. He faces the possibility of 30 years in federal prison.
Boehner's press secretary Kara Hauck told WCPO Boehner is aware of the situation "and sincerely thanks the FBI, the Capitol Police and local authorities in Ohio for their efforts.”
Hoyt is one of three people charged with threatening Boehner’s life in less than a year.
Brandon James Thompson, 32, of New Castle, Indiana, was arrested May 9 on charges of making threats against Boehner over Congress’s failure to extend unemployment insurance.
Ronald Dean Frazier of Lake Havasu, Arizona was arrested May 15 and charged with threatening to kill Boehner via Twitter.
WCPO INSIDER CONTENT:
They guessed wrong! Flu shot may not work
Heroin kids: Addicts get first taste in high school
Tri-State company building Netflix of Nigeria
Over-the-Rhine embodies tale of two cities
INTERACTIVE: Tracking Andy Dalton's passes
Is OTR really crime-ridden?