Judge denies his release pending trial, citing safety of community
By Dane Schiller, Houston Chronicle
The FBI contends Robert Talbot Jr. was ready to launch his nationwide insurgent movement in the Houston area by robbing an armored car and killing a Texas state trooper, then spraying a mosque with machine-gun fire and traveling to the nation’s capital for more bloodshed.
FBI special agent Renee Cline testified that Talbot “wanted to go to a mosque on Friday and take women, children, men and shoot them,” Cline said, adding that he planned to hit during a prayer session when there would be the most people.
These were among new details of the case against Talbot and the alleged hatred simmering within him that emerged Tuesday during a federal court hearing.
“I cannot take someone who doesn’t understand what war/battle is like … that can not handle seeing body parts flying everywhere,” Talbot allegedly wrote in an online chat in which authorities contend he sought recruits for his American Insurgent Movement.
Talbot, 42, wore a green prisoner uniform and was shackled at the waist and ankles during a hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Frances Stacy to determine in part whether he posed a threat to the community if released pending trial.
Talbot did not publicly say a word but whispered with his public defender Philip Gallagher, who told the judge that there was no evidence Talbot had ever hurt anyone.
But citing concern for what she described as “objects of Mr. Talbot’s hatred,” including law-enforcement officers and Muslims, Stacy said, “I can’t think of any conditions that I could come up with that would guarantee safety of the community and ensure he would make court appearances.”
She also said she found it highly likely that he would be convicted in the case, and that he’d likely have a lengthy prison term. He faces up to 20 years in prison without the possibility of parole. (Read more)