A state appeals court panel Tuesday upheld a Colorado man’s conviction for threatening to kill a Los Angeles County sheriff’s captain and other employees at the Lost Hills station in Calabasas.
Jason Michael Kozup was convicted in September 2018 of 14 counts of criminal threats, three counts of felony vandalism and one count each of stalking and attempted extortion.
The three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal found that the evidence that the sheriff’s captain and other personnel at the Lost Hills station “believed Kozup meant to carry out his threats and took them seriously was overwhelming.”
The panel noted that the captain was “frightened by Kozup’s threats to decapitate him” and that he moved his family from their home to protect them.
“The station was placed on high alert. Armed deputies in tactical gear were posted on the roof of the station to watch for suspicious individuals and activities,” the justices noted in their 19-page ruling. “Desk personnel were ordered to stay behind bullet-proof glass.”
Kozup was arrested by FBI agents in Colorado less than two hours after his last recorded threat to the sheriff’s station, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Law enforcement officials testified that knives were obtained during a search of the car Kozup had been driving, along with duct tape, a saw and hatchet and New Hampshire license plates, according to the ruling.
The panel noted that Kozup believed his civil rights had been violated when deputies from the Lost Hills station and the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department responded to several calls involving Kozup and that he held the sheriff’s captain personally responsible because he couldn’t obtain a copy of the incident report to submit to his insurance company.
Kozup called the sheriff’s station, demanded money and made numerous threats to kill the captain, including one in which he said, “There’s a total of seven officers that are lined up this weekend for full execution,” Deputy District Attorney Ranna Jahanshahi said after the verdict.
Kozup and the captain, who is now retired, did not know each other, according to evidence presented at the defendant’s trial.
Kozup contended that the items found in his car were for everyday use, and denied being involved in slashing the tires of three vehicles that were on a property near a home that he believed belonged to the sheriff’s captain, according to the ruling.
Kozup — who had been behind bars since his May 2015 arrest — was sentenced in October 2018 to eight years and four months in state prison, but received custody credit for nearly seven years, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
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