Bail set at $25K for man accused of threatening candidate

Legislative hopeful reports email in response to mailers

By Laura McVicker, Columbian staff writer

Published:

Updated: August 10, 2012, 6:10 PM

 

Bail was set this morning at $25,000 for a Vancouver man accused of threatening to kill a state Senate candidate.

Gary K. Owen, 50, appeared in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of two counts of malicious harassment, a Class C felony. Owen allegedly sent two threatening emails to Eileen Qutub, a Republican candidate in the 49th District, because he was upset over receiving her campaign mailers.

Deputy Prosecutor Rachael Probstfeld requested $25,000 bail, citing the gravity of the threats.

“We have serious concerns about the safety of the community” and for Qutub, Probstfeld said. “We would like to take a better-safe-than-sorry approach.”

Judge John Wulle set the bail and told Owen that he doesn’t qualify financially for court-appointed counsel and must retain his own attorney.

Wulle set Owen’s arraignment for Aug. 17.

Owen spoke very little at his first court appearance, answering only “yes” when the judge asked him if he understood the allegations.

Owen allegedly sent the first email July 21, according to a sheriff’s office news release.

“I do not know how you got my name and address but I would rather put a bullet in your stupid pathetic Republican (expletive) brain than vote for you,” the email read. “Being a Republican and a woman you have no right ever speaking or having an opinion about anything.”

On Aug. 4, Qutub received a second email. Owen apparently was angry because he had received a second campaign mailer.

“I will hunt you down and shove your spam junk mail flier (explicit description) with a hot poker!” the email read.

Qutub alerted the Clark County Sheriff’s Office last week. Since the author had left Owen’s name and address at the bottom of the second email, sheriff’s deputies were able to locate and question him.

According to a sheriff’s office news release, Owen admitted to sending the emails.

“The emails were very disparaging to Ms. Qutub’s gender and political and religious beliefs,” wrote sheriff’s Deputy Evelyn Oman in a probable cause affidavit outlining evidence for Owen’s arrest.

According to court documents, Owen moved to Vancouver from Portland about five months ago. He denied having any drug, alcohol or mental health problems, according to a pre-trial release officer’s report.

A professional book binder, he does not have any criminal history.

Qutub is running against Democrat Annette Cleveland for the seat vacated by Craig Pridemore. The seat represents west Vancouver in the Senate.

Laura McVicker: http://twitter.com/col_courts; http://facebook.com/reportermcvicker; laura.mcvicker@columbian.com; 360-735-4516.