The Taos County Courthouse, where the case of the Muslim compound, is being heard was evacuated Tuesday because of death threats being made against the judge and other officers of the court.
Threats of violence
Outrage ensued over the Judge Sarah Backus's decision Monday to deny a prosecution motion to keep the five suspects in detention pending trial. Instead, she allowed them to be freed with certain conditions, including an ankle monitor, and check-ins with their lawyer on a regular basis.
But some members of the public responded by making terroristic threats themselves.
Barry Massey of the Administrative Office of the Courts told KOAT-TV that the Taos County sheriff shut down the courthouse over the threats.
“One caller told a court staffer he wished someone would come and smash the judges head in,” Massey said. "Another said he wished someone would slit the judges throat."
NBC reporter Gadi Schwartz posted a video from the courthouse indicating that security teams were moving in and locking down the courtroom over credible threats the judge has received.
BREAKING: Judge in the #NMCompound case has been receiving various threats since her decision... now courthouse bei… https://t.co/LVoPga69Vt— Gadi Schwartz (@Gadi Schwartz)1534282461.0
BREAKING: Courthouse in Taos on Lockdown after judge and court receive a credible threat... we have all been evacua… https://t.co/5uqdaTU6Sg— Gadi Schwartz (@Gadi Schwartz)1534282172.0
The bizarre case unfolded when police raided a compound Aug. 2 after receiving a message that someone living inside had no water and no food and asked for help. They found five adults with 11 malnourished children living in squalor.
Law enforcement officials say that the children have told them they were being trained to perform lethal attacks on institutions they considered evil. The remains of a 12th child was discovered at the compound, and reports indicate that the other children said the adults were performing exorcism rituals when he died.
The five Muslims charged with child abuse are 39-year-old Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, 40-year-old Lucas Morten, 35-year-old Jany Leveille, 38-year-old Hujrah Wahhaj, and 35-year-old Subhanah Wahhaj.