A Thornton man accused of making a death threat to the superintendent of Littleton Public Schools was issued a protection order by Littleton Judge Ethan Feldman during a court appearance Feb. 23.
The order restrains Byron Clayton, 48, from being in contact with Superintendent Brian Ewert as well as any and all LPS staff. It also prevents him from being on LPS property.
Clayton was charged with a citation by Littleton police officers Jan. 26 for harassment by phone or computer, including threats. The citation came a day after Clayton allegedly left a voicemail message for Ewert in which he threatened to inject Ewert with a syringe of anthrax.
The charge carries a potential fine of up to $2,650, a jail sentence of up to 364 days or both.
Clayton is accused of leaving a message for Ewert saying: "I heard you like to inject children with garbage and poison type of stuff without their parental consent ... I have a syringe full of anthrax to inject into you," according to a police report. He then goes on to describe in detail how he believed Ewert would die from the injection.
Ewert said he notified Littleton police of the threat and, on Jan. 26, investigators found and spoke with Clayton’s mother who told them that her son holds very conservative and anti-vaccine political views and follows the far-right conspiracy group Q-Anon, according to the police report.
That same day, investigators found and interviewed Clayton at his workplace. The police report says Clayton first denied knowing anything about the call, but after being told that police would seek a warrant for his phone, he admitted to leaving the threatening voicemail "just to vent."
Clayton’s alleged threat to Ewert came a day after two videos surfaced online that showed a 15-year-old Littleton High School student and a 16-year-old homeschooled student lying to health staff at vaccine clinic at Heritage High School that was hosted by Tri-County Health in order to see if they could get approved for a vaccine without their parents’ consent.
The parents of the two children who filmed the videos, Gregg McGough and Karen Tallentire, said the videos showed LPS and state health departments had undermined their parental authority by not having proper protocols to prevent underage children from lying their way into a vaccination. McGough told Colorado Community Media that the goal of the videos was to shut down the clinic, which Ewert said he did in a statement to parents and staff on Jan. 25.
While neither student ended up going through with vaccination, the videos, which gained attention on the right-wing Twitter account “Libs of Tik Tok,” sparked backlash for Ewert and the district. Colorado Community Media, through an open records request, obtained hundreds of emails from dozens of senders that call for the ouster of the superintendent and board members, including threats of legal action and prison time.
At least one email, as well as several online comments from unknown posters, also pose death threats to Ewert and the board.
Clayton is scheduled to appear again in Littleton municipal court on April 6 at 10:30 a.m.
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