A white supremacist “reverend” was arrested this week after posting threats on social media directed at the jury and witnesses in the trial of Robert Bowers, the Tree of Life Synagogue mass shooter, according to a Thursday press release from the Northern District of West Virginia United State Attorney’s Office.
The office reported that the suspect, Hardy Carroll Lloyd of Follansbee, West Virginia, had been arrested on Thursday morning on criminal charges pertaining to alleged witness tampering and obstruction in a federal trial. His arrest occurred without incident.
In addition to posting threatening messages on social media he, or someone at his direction, placed stickers in public places that directed people to the website where his threats and antisemitic messages were published.
The stickers were posted in predominantly Jewish areas of Pittsburgh.
Threats made by Lloyd on his website
Among the comments Lloyd made on social media were statements such as “all Jews must be murdered. The Jew race MUST be wiped out…So, target Jews as BOWERS did,” “make the myths of Hitler seem like Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood…start kidnapping Jews and torturing them to death,” and “shed Jew blood till none is left to spill!! Bowers showed us the way. Time to follow him,” according to the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.
The press release directly quoted District Attorney William Ihlenfeld, who said, “Jury trials are a hallmark of the American justice system, and attempts to intimidate witnesses or jurors will be met with a strong response.” Ihlenfeld added, “The use of hateful threats in an effort to undermine a trial is especially troubling.”
The FBI echoed the sentiment and expressed their gratitude to Pittsburgh’s Jewish community for their assistance with the investigation.
"The safety and security of all citizens in our communities is a priority for the FBI. Threats of violence used to intimidate or influence a community or jury cannot and will not be tolerated,” said Mike Nordwall, the FBI Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge. “The FBI makes it a priority to investigate crimes based on religious bias. In this case, the Jewish community was specifically targeted by these threats. I want to thank the community for sharing information that helped lead to today's arrest."
The Jewish community’s response
The Pittsburgh Jewish community celebrated Lloyd’s arrest and thanked the FBI for their work. In a Thursday report from the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, Jeff Finkelstein, the President and CEO of the Federation said, “We are made stronger when we work together on our collective security. “Today’s outcome is the result of longstanding, close cooperation between law enforcement and our community over many years; the work of SCN and the Federation, and our work together, shows the strength of a coordinated, community-based approach.” Finkelstein added, “We appreciate the FBI’s ongoing commitment to our community, and the dedication shown each day by the members of law enforcement in their service to our country.”