Judge Thomas G. Power sentenced Jonathon Paul Stewart, 33, Atlanta (MI) to serve 5 to 20 years in prison following his conviction for making terrorist threats and malicious use of a telecommunication device.
Stewart has been in jail since his arrest in June 2021 and will receive credit for the 201 days served.
He was convicted by a Charlevoix County jury after a two-day trial that concluded on December 2.
At trial, three Charlevoix County employees testified that Stewart placed four phone calls to the Charlevoix County building on June 10, 2021, during which he berated and threatened county employees, used obscenities and vulgarities about the employees.
Evidence showed that Stewart was upset because of a show cause order he had received regarding a Friend of the Court case and that an employee would not transfer his call until he gave them his name.
Stewart left a voicemail for one county employee saying, “I guarantee you’re going to want to call a cop because I will be outside waiting for you after work to discuss this with you without a phone in between us.”
In his final phone call of the day, Stewart told a county employee to “put a cop on the phone or I’m going to come down and start shooting,” according to a witness. She testified that later in the call told her numerous times that he was going to come and shoot her.
The employees notified the security officers in the building who took the information from caller ID and were able to identify the call as coming from Stewart’s address in Atlanta. A Montmorency County deputy made contact with Stewart within an hour.
Power handled the case on assignment by the State Court Administrator’s Office because Judge Roy C. Hayes III was recused from the case because one of the people threatened by Stewart worked for the 33rd Circuit Court.
“Two of the victims in this case addressed the Court this afternoon at sentencing. Their words were powerful as they told the judge and defendant how this day and the defendant’s actions had impacted them,” Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof said. “One of the victims said that she wanted the defendant to know that she was not just some faceless government employee on the line, that she is a mom, a wife, a sister, a daughter.”
“Hopefully this sentence will send the message that people can’t make threats like this, those types of things have real consequences for the people receiving the threats and, with this sentence, it will have a real consequence for this defendant.”
Stewart had been convicted of four prior felonies and 17 prior misdemeanors. Power departed downward from the recommended minimum guideline range of 84 to 240 months in prison. He stated he did so because all of Stewart’s prior felonies and most of his misdemeanors occurred in 2012 and prior.