Man who threatened to shoot minorities pleads not guilty



Richard Orcutt, 62, pleaded not guilty on July 29 to allegedly sending threatening letters to property managers and homeowners in the area stating his intent to shoot minorities.

According to the San Luis Obispo Police Department, the San Luis Obispo Regional SWAT Team and the SLO County Sheriff's Special Enforcement Detail served a search warrant at Orcutt's home on June 30.

At the time, detectives believed he had recently sent several threatening letters to property managers and any future tenants in the area that stated he was going to shoot minorities moving into his neighborhood. The alleged letters depicted the American flag with no return name or address.

Orcutt's attorney, Guy Galambos, emailed a statement to New Times saying the messages sent to victims were clearly "racist and un-American" but that his client "did not write or send the threatening cards in this case."

"The strong public reaction to the initial news reports and SLOPD statements show how upsetting these threats were. Unfortunately, when the public is upset by a serious crime, they often assume the person arrested or charged is guilty," the statement from Galambos said. "This is a circumstantial evidence case; there is no direct evidence of Mr. Orcutt's guilt. Despite serving three search warrants on him and his property, despite having the Federal Bureau of Investigation and [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives] assist the investigation, and despite setting bail at $500,000, there is no proof of his guilt." Galambos said there are no eyewitnesses, no surveillance videos, and no scientific evidence showing that Orcutt wrote or sent the threatening, racist cards.

During the search of Orcutt's home on June 30, detectives said they found and seized 37 handguns, rifles, and shotguns, and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

SLO PD Lt. John Bledsoe told New Times that he can't disclose any more information about the case, as it is currently pending trial, other than saying that the investigation led the department to determine that Orcutt was tied to the alleged letters.

Orcutt was taken into custody without incident on June 30 and later booked into the SLO County Jail. Orcutt posted a $500,000 bail and was released from custody later that day.

The SLO County District Attorney's Office filed a criminal complaint on July 12 accusing Orcutt of 10 felonies—seven charges of making criminal threats, one charge of attempting to make a criminal threat, and two charges of possessing an assault weapon.

The complaint alleges that Orcutt willfully and unlawfully threatened to commit a crime on May 30 that would have resulted in death or great bodily injury to at least eight current or future residents. District Attorney officials stated that if Orcutt is convicted of all the charges, he faces a maximum sentence of 14 years and eight months in state prison.

Galambos said that Orcutt spent 31 years working for the San Luis Obispo Fire Department and dedicated his life to protecting people. "He spent his career saving people's lives and property. Richard's close friends and family know that he is not a racist and not dangerous," Galambos' statement said. Δ

Add a comment