Bail at $600K for Seattle man who posted threats on mayor’s Facebook

SEATTLE — A 32-year-old Seattle man accused of threatening Mayor Ed Murray and City Councilmember Kshama Sawant was ordered held on $600,000 bail during a probable-cause hearing Friday.

Mitchell Munro Taylor was booked into the King County Jail on Thursday night, two days after Murray’s staff found more than 20 threatening, anti-gay postings from Taylor’s account on the mayor’s Facebook page, according to court documents. One post said, “Mayor meet Harvey Milk,” a reference to slain San Francisco board of supervisors member Harvey Milk.

Milk, who was openly gay, was murdered in 1978.

Other posts said “death to socialist council member” and “feminists must get raped and die.”

Taylor is being held on investigation of two counts of cyberstalking and two counts of malicious harassment.

Defense attorney Eric Lindell said in court Friday that Taylor has Asperger syndrome, a form of autism characterized by regimentation and repetitiveness. He said the man grew up in Seattle, lives with his parents and works for “an aerospace company.”

Lindell asked King County District Court Judge Arthur Chapman to set his client’s bail at $10,000 bail. He attributed his client’s actions to the fact that the man was off his medications.

Senior Deputy Prosecutor Gary Ernsdorff, on the other hand, requested that Taylor be held in lieu of $1 million bail.

Murray, when interviewed by police, said he found the comments posted on his Facebook page to be very offensive and considered some to be death threats, according to the probable-cause affidavit filed Friday by Ernsdorff. While Sawant wasn’t named directly in the postings, police believe she was the target because she is the only socialist on the council. Sawant, who was elected to the Seattle City Council in November, told police that “she was concerned for her safety and the safety of her family,” the affidavit said.

Taylor has no criminal history.

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(Seattle Times news researcher Miyoko Wolf and staff reporter Lynn Thompson contributed to this report.)

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&Copy;2014 The Seattle Times

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