The temporary release of a McMechen man being held on federal charges that he threatened to kill President Barack Obama has been canceled after his father died Saturday afternoon.
Ryan Kirker, 21, has been jailed since his arrest on May 30. U.S. Magistrate James Seibert last week granted Kirker one visit with his father, which would have taken place under the supervision of U.S. Marshals.
However, both Kirker and his father declined the visit due to Leonard Kirker's deteriorated condition, a family member of Kirker said on Monday. Kirker's father had been suffering from a terminal illness prior to his death.
Seibert granted the one-time release as an alternative to defense attorneys' request that Kirker be released from the Northern Regional Jail in Moundsville while awaiting trial in light of new evidence, and because of his father's health.
The defense argued Kirker's name was forged on the documents recovered by investigators, and pointed out handwriting and fingerprints taken from the letters do not match those of the defendant.
Seibert said the defense overstated the importance of the findings. The judge ruled, however, that the prognosis was a "compelling reason" to grant Kirker's temporary release from jail to visit his father.
Kirker allegedly sent letters to Obama using racial slurs and threatening to kill the president and the first family. Prosecutors say one of the letters to the White House closed with the phrase "KKK forever."
Another invited the president to McMechen so Kirker "can have a shot" at him. In a letter to a friend, Kirker allegedly mentions a semi-automatic rifle and armor-piercing ammunition, and states he and his friend will travel to Washington, D.C., and kill Obama.