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Arizona sex offender threatens mass shooting over stalled registry legislation

AP Photo/Linley Sanders
The Iowa capitol building, which Cody Ray Leveke allegedly threatened to target.
Justin Rohrlich
By Justin Rohrlich

Geopolitics reporter

A convicted sex offender living in Arizona allegedly threatened to “pull a mass shooting” at the Iowa statehouse in Des Moines because a bill he thought would ease his registration requirements hasn’t moved quickly enough through the approval process.

Cody Ray Leveke, 36, was arrested yesterday for allegedly threatening a state senator in Iowa, where Leveke lived until 2016.

According to a criminal complaint filed in federal court, Leveke subjected Herman Quirmbach, a Democrat who has served in the Iowa legislature since 2003, to a flurry of emails and voicemail messages threatening Quirmbach’s life over a bill he introduced two years ago.

Leveke, who pleaded guilty in Iowa to state charges of incest in 2004, now lives in Arizona and is required to register with Arizona authorities as a sex offender. This, says the new federal complaint, “has affected [Leveke’s] ability to run a business in Arizona.”

Quirmbach’s bill would allow sex offenders to register with authorities in the county of conviction rather than the county in which one currently lives. Leveke is in the heating and air conditioning industry, according to public records, and “appeared to believe [the new law] would have helped him be removed from the registry,” say court filings.

But the bill has not yet passed the state legislature, which has apparently incensed Leveke.

At the beginning of September, Leveke allegedly sent the following email to Quirmbach:

Senator Herman:

Law Enforcment [sic] has become pretty aggressive against me since the court rulings ending my registration. The Tempe police department have spread more of this bullshit on the internet, and have attempted to file 10+ felonys [sic] on me. I have a civil suit against them for libel, however seeing how dirty they are I don’t want to pursue it outta fear that they will retaliate against me.

I’m angry enough to pull a mass shooting down at the State House. The law I had the court declare invalid is still on the books.

The legislature is in violation of the constitution, and needs to pass the changes to the law I have proposed. Years have gone by, and you continue to violate.

I am in need of an explanation for this illegal behavior, and the names of the individuals responsible for holding the bill up in the house.

This is why the right to possess a weapon is protected in the constitution. Those that conspired to violate my civil rights and the rights of others under color of law should live in fear.

Currently I’m homeless, $2 to my name, warrant for my arrest. I have done the peaceful thing and fled, as I’m out gunned.

STOP BREAKING THE LAW ASSHOLE!

A few hours later, according to the complaint, Leveke left a voicemail for Quirmbach. He identified himself by name, said he sent Quirmbach an email and that he was “a very angry person right now.” Leveke then insisted his constitutional rights were being violated and “yells for the duration of the message.”

After leaving the voicemail, Leveke allegedly followed up with another email. It began with a link to a news article about an August 2019 mass shooting near Odessa, Texas, then said:

Just know you are powerless to stop it. I suggest the legislature walk the line, and stay 100 miles away from violating anyone’s right. The police cannot take a gun they don’t know about. The guy in Texas was a convicted felon barred from possing [sic] the AR but was able to buy buy [sic] one anyway. It’s an example of how powerless the State is over guns. This guy killed a police officer trying to write him a ticket, after he was fired from his job. I bet that cop was sorry he decided to write that guy [a] ticket when he saw the gun pointed at his head.

This email is an order to the Iowa Legislature to stand down with any attempts to violate the civil rights of anyone. I demand the existing law be taken off the books. The continuing Disobedience to the Constitution by the legislature deserves a violent response at this point. Let’s not have it go there senator respect our constitution.

THE 2ND AMENDMENT EXISITS [sic] SO WE CAN KILL POLITICIANS WHEN THEY DONT [sic] ACT IN ACCORDANCE TO LAW.

The next day, the complaint says, Leveke sent yet another email to Quirmbach. It read:

Senator Herman:

My demands to the Iowa Legislature are are simple. The law has already been overturned by the district Court, yet the Legislature refuses to pass the bill, that would make the law Constitutional.

I am interpreting the failure to act as an act of agression [sic] by The Iowa Legislature, and the Polk County Attorney. Both of these entities knowingly and deliberately are violation the Constitutional Right of Citizens to access Courts.

I demand the bill be passed by both Houses of the legislature, and the Govenor [sic] sign it as soon as possible.

Those that seek to violate the Constitution will be held accountable and will answer to me.

Understood?

When Leveke most recently contacted Quirmbach, he was on probation for two felony harassment charges in Arizona, according to the complaint. The Tempe Police Department then received permission to track Leveke’s cell phone, which placed him in Los Angeles, California.

About two weeks later, Leveke allegedly called the Tempe PD’s emergency line, threatening to “acquire a firearm and shoot law enforcement who violate his civil rights.” Leveke was arrested Oct. 22 in Studio City, CA.

“I would prefer not to comment,” Quirmbach told Quartz. “Law enforcement and the judicial system will handle the matter from here.”

Federal prosecutions for violent threats against US politicians rose 41% in 2018 as compared to the year before. The level was highest in 2011, during president Barack Obama’s first term. During Obama’s tenure, Democratic lawmakers reported receiving at least 10 death threats over their support of the Affordable Care Act. Republican congressman Eric Cantor also got death threats at the time for his opposition to Obamacare and a window was shot out at his office in Richmond, Virginia. Researchers say the majority of threats overall in the US tend to come from white males who support right-wing causes.

Joe Herrold, Leveke’s court-appointed attorney, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Leveke, who did not reply to a text message sent to his mobile phone, is due back in court Dec. 26.

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