CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article mistook Mitchell Watley’s wife as present in the courthouse. The article has been updated to reflect she was not. The Juneau Empire regrets the error.
Early last week a popular Juneau children’s book illustrator was arrested for reportedly posting transphobic notes that referenced shooting children at three public locations in Juneau.
Mitchell Thomas Watley, 47, appeared at the Juneau Courthouse late Tuesday afternoon where his preliminary hearing was postponed until April 21 at 11 a.m. Assistant District Attorney Rexene Finley requested the delay, stating she expects to have an indictment before that date.
Watley is being charged with one count of felony terroristic threatening, a Class C felony, and faces up to five years in prison and a $50,000 fine.
Watley is out of custody after his wife paid for his $10,000 bail to release him from Lemon Creek Correctional Center, where he was brought to by police following his arrest, according to the state courts system.
According to court documents, Watley has no known criminal record aside from a minor traffic violation more than a decade ago.
His attorney, Nicholas Polasky, offered no comment at the hearing.
Watley’s notes were originally discovered at Foodland IGA, the State Office Building and Costco, prompting the Juneau Police Department to send officers to schools to provide extra security. Police were later able to identify and arrest Watley as a suspect by utilizing Costco security footage.
In an official report by police, it stated Watley admitted to posting the notes as he feared the transgender person suspected of a mass shooting at a Tennessee school a week ago. The first notes were posted on the International Transgender Day of Visibility, which saw widespread national threats against transgender people and some school closures in the wake of the shooting.
• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at firstname.lastname@example.org or (651)-528-1807. Follow her on Twitter at @clariselarson.