LAS VEGAS — A man accused of leaving a note threatening to kill U.S. Sen. Dean Heller over the Nevada Republican’s vote on health care was identified on security video by family members and tracked by police through his handwriting in a 2004 police report, court documents said.
Bail was set Wednesday at $15,000 for Richard Brent Holley, 62. A judge ordered Holley to stay away from Heller and the senator’s office, told him to surrender two firearms and serve house arrest after posting bail until an Oct. 2 preliminary hearing of evidence in the case.
Holley was arrested Monday by Las Vegas police after an investigation of a note left about 5 p.m. July 14, the day after Senate Republican leaders unveiled a health care measure aimed at repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. The note was not discovered until July 16.
Holley was not asked by Justice of the Peace Eric Goodman to enter a plea to felony extortion and burglary charges that could get him up to 20 years in state prison, or a misdemeanor intimidating a public officer count that carries a possible penalty of one year in county jail.
His lawyer, Michael Becker, said outside court that Holley has health problems and cares at home for his wife, who has severe ailments and has trouble getting out of bed.
“I think when the dust settles, you’re going to find a man who like many is upset with the political situation and how it is affecting ordinary people,” Becker said.
Heller aides did not immediately respond to telephone and email requests for comment.
Heller in June announced he could not support a Senate Republican health care measure as written but went on to vote July 26 for a GOP health care bill that failed by a 49-51 vote. He is considered the most vulnerable Republican incumbent senator in the 2018 elections.
Holley has Type II diabetes, according to a police arrest report that recounted the contents of the note found on a folded piece of paper tucked behind a sign at Heller’s Las Vegas office. Holley’s wife has bone diseases, eye and blood pressure problems, and is awaiting back surgery, the police report said.
“I am sick and will die without continued medical care,” the note said, according to police. “If I’m going to die because you voted to repeal or replace with a death bill, I will take you with me. If I’m going to die so are you.”
Police found similarities in handwriting in the note and in a police report that Holley filed after he said he was robbed in June 2004.
Holley’s son and daughter-in-law identified Holley as the man seen on security video wearing sunglasses and a cap leaving the note at Heller’s office, the arrest report said.
Detectives said that when they interviewed Holley at his home he had on the same kind of blue tennis shoes with orange laces worn by the man in the video.
Holley denied during a recorded interview that he left the note, police said, and then said he had no violent intent toward anyone, including Heller.