PARKVILLE, Md. – A man charged with threatening in an e-mail to kill Gov. Martin O'Malley because he blames him for problems with illegal immigrants will be confined to his Baltimore County home until his trial date, a prosecutor said Friday.
Home detention was ordered for Walter Abbott, 44, after a psychiatrist's evaluation determined he was not "a real and present danger" to O'Malley, said Deputy Assistant State's Attorney Robin Coffin.
Abbott was being held on $2 million bail.
"His release is really conditioned that he go into this home detention," said Coffin, who also noted that Abbott had to turn over a handgun to authorities.
Abbott, a construction worker, was arrested on Tuesday at his Parkville home, less than five hours after he sent an e-mail to the governor's official Web site threatening him with strangulation. Abbott included his name, address and phone number on the e-mail.
"He has sent several letters in the past with no response," the investigating office wrote in charging documents. "He felt sending this message would receive a response."
Abbott's wife, Linda, said her husband has been upset because he believes he has been losing work to illegal immigrants. Mrs. Abbott also said the couple recently came to Annapolis to testify on legislation on the issue.
Abbott was charged with threatening a public official and conveying a threat, said Greg Shipley, a state police spokesman.
"The governor's office received an e-mail that stated the suspect was going to kill the governor by strangulation," according to charging documents. "The suspect was upset with his views on immigration."
Mrs. Abbott said her husband did not really mean to harm the governor.
"He only lashed out with words," she added, sobbing during a telephone interview. "He was just frustrated. He just wants to support his family."
Shipley said authorities were concerned about "what we perceived to be a substantial threat against the safety of the governor."
"Our concern was about the threat to kill the governor, and our job is to protect the governor and the other officials whom we are assigned to protect," Shipley said. "We take these threats very seriously."
O'Malley's office declined to comment, referring questions to the state police agency, which provides a security detail for the governor.
Shipley said it's not common for the governor to receive threats. "It is not a regular occurrence," he said.
Mrs. Abbott said the couple have two children, a 20-year-old son who lives at home, and a 24-year-old daughter.
"He's just regretting all of this," she said of her husband. "He just wants to get home to his family."