Superior man charged after allegedly sending threats to city officials
A Superior resident is facing charges, including a felony, and a possible restraining order after making threats to city officials over tire ruts in his yard.
Marty L. Curtiss, 60, was arrested Tuesday in connection with emails sent to Public Works Director Todd Janigo, Mayor Jim Paine and 2nd District City Councilor Jenny Van Sickle, who represents the district where Curtiss lives. As a condition of his bail, he was ordered to have no contact with any of the named city officials.
Janigo, for whom the restraining order is being sought, reported the threats and harassment to the Superior Police Department.
"I'm not at liberty to discuss," Janigo said Friday morning.
According to the criminal complaint, Janigo told police Curtiss has been harassing him by sending countless emails to Janigo's city email address for the past two years. While Janigo has not responded to the emails, the harassment has continued.
"Marty has long been an aggressive emailer," City Attorney Frog Prell said. "And there's no shortage of individuals around (city offices) who have received his emails, many of which are laced with what can only be described as venom and hate. I don't want to say we've gotten use to it, because I don't think all of us have. We've come to expect it."
However, the emails sent from Curtiss' email address took on a more threatening tone, Prell said.
"Recently ... this past weekend, the messages from Marty to Todd have become more and more direct, and more and more threatening," Prell said.
According to the emails filed with the restraining order, Janigo and Police Chief Nick Alexander were copied on an email sent to Van Sickle on Saturday in which a series of emails were included. Several times Curtiss referred to an unnamed public servant as "lying scum" and a "lazy a**" while complaining about a garbage or recycling truck that was driving in his yard. In the final remark email, Curtiss made the statement "show me what you're doing to fix this or I'm coming after your lazy ... a**."
The neighborhood where Curtiss lives in Itasca has ditch lines with boulevards that are flush with the road. There are no curbs.
In emails sent directly to Janigo on Tuesday, and copied to Alexander, Curtiss threatened to come after Janigo if the issue wasn't resolved by Friday and "you send some dumb a** out to drive in my yards" and "I hope you are hiding under your desk ... your time is coming."
"I don't know how any reasonable person reads those and interprets them in any way other than a threat, and a threat of some physical confrontation," Prell said.
Those emails prompted Prell to do something he's never done before in the 17 years he's worked for the city; he filed for a restraining order against a city resident Thursday on Janigo's behalf.
"While we, as public servants, are designed, I think, to a degree to take some shots, this is out of line," Prell said. "It's unlawful."
And District Attorney Mark Fruehauf agreed. Curtiss was charged with felony stalking and three counts of misdemeanor computer message, threaten injury or harm, on Wednesday, Oct. 31.
According to the criminal complaint, Janigo said he has lost sleep and it has gotten to the point where he believes he should inform his family about Curtiss out of concern for his and his family's safety. Janigo said in past emails, Curtiss had stated he knew where Janigo lives and the name of his ex-wife.
During his arrest Tuesday, Curtiss acknowledged sending the emails to a "department head."
"I'm sending them to one stupid a** department head that keeps doing this stupid s*** to me," Curtiss said on video recorded by an officer's body camera during the arrest.
As officers drove back to the Douglas County Jail, Curtiss said he wouldn't be sending Janigo anymore emails and an officer made the comment "so we are fixing the problem," to which Curtiss replied "Yeah, until somebody's dead."
Curtiss is also accused of sending threatening emails to the mayor.
According to the criminal complaint, Curtiss sent an email to Mayor Paine on Tuesday with the subject line "Halloween." In it, tells the mayor to hide in his basement and not to call the police on trick-or-treaters because they knocked on the door. In mostly capital letters, Curtiss wrote: "Keep in mind you ... lying scum those of us that are unhinged and have a vendetta normally will do everything else to you house but knock on your ... door."
A hearing on the restraining order is set for Nov. 12. A temporary injunction has been granted.
Curtiss was released from the Douglas County Jail on a $5,000 signature bond Wednesday and was ordered to submit a DNA sample before his release. He is scheduled for a status conference Wednesday and a preliminary hearing on the felony charge Nov. 14.