A U.S. District judge on Monday ordered the man charged with attempting to assassinate President Obama to remain behind bars until his trial.
Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola said he made the decision to hold Oscar Ortega-Hernandez without bond because of his “extraordinary effort to flee” the Washington area and the violent nature of the crime.
“It’s one of the most serious crimes imaginable: taking the life of the president of the United States,” Judge Facciola said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney John Borchert told the court that while living in Idaho this spring, Mr. Ortega-Hernandez bought a Romanian-made semiautomatic rifle and more than 1,200 rounds of ammunition.
One witness stated in a court document that Mr. Ortega-Hernnandez during that time said Mr. Obama “was the ‘Antichrist’ and that ‘President Obama needed to be taken care of.’ “
Mr. Ortega-Hernandez drove his 1998 black Honda Accord to Washington and arrived in early November.
According to court documents, witnesses heard loud pops or gunshots coming from a car going west on Constitution Avenue Northwest, across from the Ellipse on the South Lawn of the White House, about 9 p.m. on Nov. 11.
Prosecutors say Mr. Ortega-Hernandez was driving the car and fired as many as eight shots before fleeing at high speed, crashing his car several blocks away on the lawn of the National Institute of Peace.
U.S. public defender Davis Bos, arguing Monday for his client’s release, said federal prosecutors have no witnesses who saw Mr. Ortega driving the vehicle or firing the shots.
“At best there were shots fired from a car from someone who they have no idea who the individual is,” he said.
Investigators recovered the rifle and ammunition in the abandoned car, along with clothing that matched those owned by Mr. Ortega-Hernandez.
In addition, Mr. Ortega-Hernandez’s fingerprints were found inside the car and on some of the ammunition.
“It’s his car, his gun … his jacket in the back of the car,” Mr. Borchert said.
Mr. Ortega-Hernandez fled to western Pennsylvania, in part by hopping a freight train, and was arrested there five days later.