PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — A Wood County jury quickly convicted the man Friday who had threatened last fall to seize control of the state capitol and the state government of West Virginia.
Thomas David Deegan, 39, of Mineral Wells, was found guilty on one count of making a terroristic threat. The 12-member jury deliberated for one hour.
The prosecution’s case centered on a conference call recorded last September where Deegan talked about his plan.
“The conversation was the actual crime itself,” Wood County Prosecutor Jason Wharton told MetroNews Friday morning. “The jury was able to hear the entirety of the conference call as well as some recordings from the regional jail and some other testimony.”
Deegan’s intentions were clear during that conference call, Wharton said.
“He made statements with regard to a plan to essentially bring many individuals to the state capitol in Charleston in an attempt to overtake the offices in that complex,” Wharton said.
Deegan told those on the conference call they should shoot those who offered any resistance.
The threat had to be taken seriously, Wharton said.
Deegan, who represented himself during the trial, said in his closing argument the Sept. 14, 2015 conference call was for education and a brainstorming session.
“It was one of 12 calls and was taken out of context. I have studied laws and I see where they are going wrong. I just find errors. I never called myself a sovereign citizen,” he said.
Deegan faces 1-3 years in prison and a $5,000 to $25,000 fine. He’ll be sentenced in April. Wharton said his office would stand against any attempts of alternate sentencing.