Portage man accused of threatening police en route to assault hearing
A transient Portage man is being held on $5,000 cash bond, accused of threatening the Portage Police Department hours before facing a charge of felony sexual assault.
Willie Wilson, 57, appeared in Columbia County Circuit Court via video from jail Tuesday afternoon, charged with second-degree sexual assault of an unconscious victim, threatening a law enforcement officer, and misdemeanor bail jumping.
District Attorney Jane Kohlwey requested a cash bond, citing the charges and describing Wilson as “rather transient.” She said a couple hours earlier, her office received a call from the Columbia County Jail booking officer.
The jail officer reported Wilson had said, “there will be a shooting here real soon,” and when asked to elaborate, said, “Maybe the Portage Police Department will just blow up because they have it coming.”
Wilson reportedly told jail staff they would be fine and that the problem was with the local police.
“I can’t address what is outside the probable cause,” said defense attorney Ronald Benavides, referring to the criminal complaint in front of them.
“It may be implausible,” said Benavides, “he certainly doesn’t have a ‘blow-up machine.’”
Wilson was arrested following an incident May 8, when he had been reportedly staying with a 47-year-old Portage woman and her boyfriend. That night, according to the criminal complaint, she and Wilson had been drinking and Wilson also took cocaine that he had offered her. The woman went to bed, only to be awoken by Wilson groping her.
The woman reported the incident May 16 and two days later a Portage police officer recognized Wilson and took him into custody. Wilson, according to the officer, said he was going to grab the officer’s gun and shoot him with it. As he was being processed into the jail, he allegedly threw a glass necklace pendant at the officer, calling the officer a racist.
“It may be implausible, but it is not impossible,” said Judge W. Andrew Voigt, pointing to other common events that may otherwise seem implausible. Although the comment could be attributed to frustration, he also clarified that there is a time, place, forum and manner for expressing such frustration.
“Those are obvious and dangerous comments to make,” said Voigt, calling $5,000 cash bond potentially modest, under the circumstances.
Wilson is scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing May 22.