A Darby man was found not guilty Tuesday in United States District Court in Missoula of threatening to kill President Barack Obama and his family.
A jury took just over an hour to find Dan Rachell, 43, not guilty on either charge of threatening to kill the president and of threatening to kill one or more members of his family.
Rachell admitted during testimony that he made racist remarks and repeatedly told a co-worker at the Valley Veterans Service Center in Hamilton that “someone should nuke Washington and start over.”
“I do know my heart gets ahead of my brain,” he said. “I say things as a defense mechanism to distance itself from my frustration.”
Federal defense attorney Andy Nelson argued that prosecutors failed to provide specific evidence that Rachell was serious about his threats and that he had the means to carry them out.
Rachell was arrested in April by the U.S. Secret Service following an investigation that temporarily closed the Hamilton veterans center.