A known white supremacist from West Virginia was arrested Thursday and accused of targeting the Jewish community in social media posts and online comments during the trial of the shooter at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, according to NBC News.
Hardy Carroll Lloyd, 45, was taken into custody without incident on federal charges of witness tampering, obstruction and transmitting threats.
Lloyd, a self-proclaimed "reverend" of a white supremacy movement, is accused of making several comments in May calling for Robert Bowers' release and threatening people who served on the jury at his trial. Bowers was convicted in June of fatally shooting 11 people at the synagogue in 2018. He was sentenced to death Aug. 3.
In a May 14 post on the Russian social media site VKontakte, Lloyd wrote, "Free Robert Bowers Now!! ... We need to support anyone who kills jews," a federal criminal complaint alleged.
Three days later, he posted, "Robert Bowers did Pgh a Favour. Any juror who finds him guilty is guilty of anti-White racism," the complaint says.
In other posts, Lloyd allegedly threatened to publicly release the jurors' names and addresses. In a May 17 email to local news stations, Lloyd said people would be watching the jurors and "taking pictures of ALL cars and people who leave the courthouse," according to the complaint.
White supremacy stickers with Lloyd's website were also found around Pittsburgh, authorities said in the complaint. One sticker included a swastika and the words "White Pride," according to the complaint.
Authorities said Lloyd posted the threats because he was trying to "influence, obstruct, and impede" the trial.
"Threats of violence used to intimidate or influence a community or jury cannot and will not be tolerated. The FBI makes it a priority to investigate crimes based on religious bias," FBI Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge Mike Nordwall said in a statement.
"In this case, the Jewish community was specifically targeted by these threats," Nordwall continued. "I want to thank the community for sharing information that helped lead to today’s arrest."
The 34-page complaint also outlines other offensive and racist posts it says Lloyd made against Black and transgender people.
Lloyd, who was a resident of Pittsburgh, has had several run-ins with the law. Last year, the Texas Public Safety Department offered a $1,000 reward for information that led to his arrest after he allegedly made online comments saying he would be carrying a firearm onto the Texas State Capitol grounds and would challenge any law enforcement officer who tried to stop him.
It was not clear whether he is still wanted on those charges. The Texas Public Safety Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.
In 2010, Lloyd was sentenced in a federal court in Pittsburgh to 2½ years in prison for possessing 10 firearms and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition as a convicted felon. He was acquitted in 2006 in connection with the shooting death of his former girlfriend, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
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