La Mesa man pleads not guilty to making threats against Muslims

La Mesa man granted bail after being charged with threatening Muslims

A 53-year-old La Mesa man Tuesday pleaded not guilty to charges of making telephone death threats against Muslim groups in San Diego and Washington.

John David Weissinger is charged with making threats against the Council on American-Islamic Relations in both locations. The threats included profanity and vows to kill Muslims, according to prosecutors.

At Weissinger's home, police found an assault rifle and racist writings, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Oscar Garcia.

After a brief hearing in San Diego County Superior Court, Weissinger remained free on $50,000 bond.

Weissinger's attorney told reporters that his client had been drinking and was angered by the massacre of journalists in Paris.

"My client had consumed copious amounts of alcohol and was watching the Charlie Hebdo [coverage] on television," attorney Thomas Matthews told Reuters. "When people are under the influence of alcohol, they tend to do a lot of things they shouldn't do and wish they could take back."

But Hanif Mohebi, executive director of the San Diego chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said that Weissinger should have been denied bail.

"This individual has terrorized my staff and my community [and] threatened to kill us with firepower," he said. "We do not feel safe unless he is behind bars; we are the victims of his terrorism."

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