EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – John Oliver Hamilton from Las Cruces, New Mexico was charged with threatening to burn a building by means of fire.

Hamilton, 54, made an initial appearance in federal court on Aug. 12 on a criminal complaint and will remain in custody pending a preliminary and detention hearing scheduled for Aug. 17.

According to the complaint, on July 27, Hamilton allegedly made a string of telephone calls to the Office of Institutional Equality at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. In those calls, as alleged in the complaint, Hamilton repeatedly threatened to burn the school. Under federal law, it is illegal to willfully make any threat by telephone to destroy any building by means of fire or an explosive.

A complaint is only an allegation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Hamilton faces up to 10 years in prison.

The Las Cruces Resident Agency of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office investigated this case with assistance from the New Mexico State University Police. Assistant United States Attorney Joni Autrey Stahl is prosecuting the case.

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