CORTLAND, Ohio – A teenager was arrested after a leader of the Church of Satan turned over to the FBI an e-mail the high school student had written to the sect in which he threatened to kill his grandparents, authorities said.
Andrew Culver, 18, told police the e-mail detailing his intention to kill his grandparents and steal their money and car was a joke, said Bazetta Township police Chief Charles Sayers.
According to police, Culver wrote he had access to an arsenal of weapons and wanted to "kill in the name of our unholy lord Satan."
Culver sent the message Wednesday to Peter Gilmore, the high priest of the New York City-based Church of Satan, Sayers said. Gilmore alerted the FBI, which notified local police. Culver was taken out of class Thursday and questioned by police, Sayers said.
"To send an e-mail making specific threats, to sign your name, that to me is not a joke," Sayers said.
Messages seeking comment were left at the home where Culver lives with his grandparents and with the Trumbull County Juvenile Detention Center, where Culver is being held.
Charges will be discussed at a scheduled hearing on Monday, Sayers said.
Gilmore said his church discards most of the hundreds of e-mails it receives daily. But Culver's message stood out, he said.
"I thought it could be a joke, but with recent events in Colorado and Nebraska, I thought it was better to play it safe," he said, referring to mass shootings in an Omaha mall, a missionary school near Denver and a Colorado Springs church that killed a total of 13 people, including the gunmen.
Gilmore said members of his group are atheists who believe Satan is a symbol of freedom, not evil. "To the Satanist, he is his own God," reads a statement on the group's Web site from Gilmore.