Photo Caption: Sheriff Pat Kelly
Kister, 40, was taken into custody in April 2009 from his home in Buchtel, and placed in an Athens mental-health facility for psychiatric evaluation. He had earlier announced in a news release that he had started a hunger strike, which he would not end "until the U.S. government admits that it has put in a brain implant, and are engaging in thought torture."
Kister was released after a short stay in the facility, and filed a court appeal of the judge's finding that put him there. The 4th District Court of Appeals rejected that appeal, however. He has also pursued legal relief unsuccessfully in federal court.
Sheriff Kelly said Sunday that he had Kister arrested only after a long series of threatening comments aimed at Kelly, which has led the sheriff to believe Kister may be a threat to other people.
"He's pushed and pushed and pushed, and I gave him a lot of leeway, and a lot of room, but enough is enough," Kelly said.
The charge Kister is facing is a fifth-degree felony, because the target of his alleged death threat was a public official.
The sheriff alleged that on a recent call to WAIS-AM in Nelsonville's morning listener call-in show, Kister referred to him as "Adolf Kelly," and stated, "Adolf Kelly must die."
In addition, Kelly claimed, when he told Kister that his office is no longer going to automatically respond to his repeated calls to send officers to his Buchtel home, Kister told him, "You m-----f-----, you're going down. I'm going to make sure you're in hell."
At this point, Kelly said, some of his senior officers who heard of the alleged threats insisted that Kister be arrested, for fear that he poses a threat of violence to not only Kelly, but other officers, or other people.
A few days before Kister's arrest, he left a message Tuesday on a phone at The Athens NEWS, alleging that he had heard second-hand that Kelly had "said that he would have me arrested if I just had what he called a 'bad attitude.'" Kister went on to say that he had been trying to get the sheriff's office to investigate alleged break-ins and thefts from Kister's home, but that Kelly had insisted Kister had to come into the office in Athens and file a report.
This represented a hardship for him, Kister stated in the message, because he is low-income, disabled and has no car.
"The problem is, when I leave, people break into my house," he added in the message.