French Creek man arrested after allegedly making multiple threats to kill people via social media and in person

BUCKHANNON – An Upshur County man was arrested after allegedly threatening individuals in person and online.

Thomas Riley, 48, of French Creek, was arrested for assault, a misdemeanor; harassment, a misdemeanor; and threatening to commit terroristic acts, a felony.

According to the criminal complaint in the Upshur County Magistrate Clerk’s Office filed by investigating officer Cpl. Tyler Gordon with the Upshur County Sheriff’s Office, on July 30, 2023, Riley posted a message on his public Facebook page.

In that post, he allegedly threatened a specific person and detailed further threats directed at the civilian population generally, according to the police report.

One example of the alleged threats is, “When I’ve had enough, I’ll kill all of you I can before the cops get me…”

Two days prior, on July 28, 2023, another individual filed a complaint with the Buckhannon detachment of the West Virginia State Police regarding threats that Riley had made. According to that criminal complaint, filed by WVSP Trooper M.J. Colon, on July 28 at approximately 3:30 p.m., the individual traveled to the Buckhannon detachment of the WVSP to file a complaint about being harassed by Riley.

According to the police report, the individual stated that at about 2 p.m. on July 28, Riley allegedly threatened to kill him and his family. The individual also brought a recording of audio as proof of evidence, and Colon acquired this audio and secured it.

The individual also reportedly told police that Riley had allegedly threatened his underage daughter in the past, the complaint states. The individual also stated he feared for his and his family’s safety because Riley allegedly brandished a pistol toward him and made the same threats of killing him and every one of his family members two weeks prior.

Bail was set at $81,000 — $75,000 of which is cash only – by Upshur County Magistrate Mark Davis.

The penalty for a conviction of threatening to commit terroristic act is a fine of not less than $5,000 nor more than $25,000, imprisonment in the state penitentiary for not less than one year nor more than three years, or both.

In addition, the possible penalty for assault is confinement in jail for not more than six months, a fine of up to $100 or both, while the possible penalty for harassment is confinement in jail for not more than six months, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.

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