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EC man accused of making bomb threats deemed incompetent

» Suspect committed to state
» Rusk County hearing scheduled

posted Feb. 17, 2017 6:57 a.m. | updated Feb. 17, 2017 8:29 a.m. (CDT)
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by / Dan Holtz. bio | email

An Eau Claire man accused of making multiple bomb and other threats in Eau Claire and Rusk counties has been ruled incompetent and his criminal case has been suspended for up to a year.

Eau Claire County Judge William Gabler made the ruling Thursday for Dustin E. Hewitt, 23.

Gabler in October found Hewitt competent to proceed with his case following an examination by Eau Claire psychologist Harlan Heinz.

But Heinz changed his position on Hewitt following a second evaluation in January.

After that evaluation, Heinz concluded Hewitt understands court proceedings but is unable to assist with his defense because of fixed delusional thinking, which would affect his ability to be reasonable.

The delusions “seem to be just primarily focused on this specific situation,” Heinz said of the incidents that led to Hewitt’s criminal charges.

Hewitt is functional in the other parts of his life “and does fine ... except when it’s related to these charges,” Heinz said. “It’s significant and nothing he’s malingering with, I believe.”

Heinz also believes Hewitt has the ability to regain his competency within a year with treatment and medications.

As part of his ruling Thursday, Gabler committed Hewitt to the state Department of Health Services, which will determine which institution he will be housed in.

State officials will examine Hewitt periodically and update Gabler as to his condition.

“He’s not rational, and he can’t assist in his own defense,” Gabler said of Hewitt.

Gabler also mentioned a letter he received from Hewitt on Nov. 7, which was after the October hearing where he was found competent.

Hewitt said in the letter that a bomb would be detonated at the courthouse at his Nov. 22 preliminary hearing, where he was subsequently ordered to stand trial.

Hewitt is charged with felony counts of bomb scares and threatening to injure or accuse of a crime. He also faces two felony charges of bail jumping.

He is being held in the Eau Claire County Jail on a $100,000 cash bail.

Hewitt also faces four felony bomb scare charges in Rusk County. A competency hearing in that case is March 22.

According to the criminal complaint:

An attorney with the company GoDaddy.com told authorities in April 2015 that Hewitt was calling, emailing and texting threatening messages to company employees. The messages included bomb threats to the company’s headquarters in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The attorney said Hewitt had been charged in 2013 for a bomb threat made to the company. Hewitt was hired by the company as a consultant who got paid when he referred someone to the company who made a purchase.

The lawyer said Hewitt believed he should have been paid even though a customer he referred to the company didn’t make a purchase. On Aug. 2, the Rusk County Courthouse received a bomb threat by email that was traced to Hewitt. The courthouse and jail were evacuated.

On Aug. 8, the state probation and parole office in Eau Claire received a bomb threat by email. That threat was also traced to Hewitt.

Another threat occurred on Aug. 28, when a probation agent received a threatening email from Hewitt at her Eau Claire office. The email made threats concerning her ex-husband.

During a search of Hewitt’s town of Drammen home, investigators found notebooks and folders containing correspondence with GoDaddy.com. Hewitt’s stepbrother told authorities Hewitt was obsessed with race car driver Danica Patrick, who is sponsored by GoDaddy.com, and feels like the company owes him money.

Hewitt is being prosecuted as a repeat offender. He was convicted of three counts of misdemeanor bail jumping in Chippewa and Rusk counties in 2014 and 2015.

Hewitt entered into a three-year diversion agreement in Rusk County on a felony count of making a bomb scare in July 2013. In April 2015, that agreement was extended into 2018.

Hewitt was convicted of misdemeanor counts of making threats via a computer and disorderly conduct in that Rusk County case and was sentenced to 180 days in jail.

Contact: 715-833-9207, dan.holtz@ecpc.com