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Crime & Safety

Wayne County Canvasser Received Threatening Texts, Photos: Feds

A New Hampshire woman sent photos of a nude and mutilated woman to the Wayne County Board of Canvassers Chair, according to court files.

A New Hampshire woman faces federal charges after authorities said she sent photos of a nude and mutilated dead woman to Wayne County Board of Canvassers Chair Monica Paler after the board's November vote to certify county election results.
A New Hampshire woman faces federal charges after authorities said she sent photos of a nude and mutilated dead woman to Wayne County Board of Canvassers Chair Monica Paler after the board's November vote to certify county election results. (Shutterstock)

DETROIT, MI — A New Hampshire woman faces federal charges after authorities said she sent photos of a nude and mutilated woman's body to Wayne County Board of Canvassers Chair Monica Palmer after the board's November vote to certify county election results.

Katelyn Jones, 23, was charged Wednesday with one count of threats of violence through interstate commerce, according to a criminal filing from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Michigan. If convicted, Jones could serve up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000, according to the U.S. Attorneys Office.

"The allegations in this case should make all of us disgusted," United States Attorney Matthew Schneider said Wednesday. "There is simply no place in Michigan, or in the United States, for chilling threats like this to people who are simply doing what they believe is correct."

According to court documents filed Wednesday and citing information gathered by the FBI, Jones texted Palmer, a Republican, on Nov. 18, calling her a "racist b****" and saying it wasn't hard to find her information online.

"I don't tolerate people like you," a text from Jones to Palmer reads, according to federal documents. "In fact, I consider you to be a terrorist and do you know what happens to terrorists (Monica)?"

Jones then sent two graphic photos of the body of a nude, mutilated woman lying on the ground, according to federal files, and then a photo of Palmer's daughter.

"I'd just like you to imagine that's (your daughter)," Jones texted Palmer, according to federal filings.

The Wayne County Board of Canvassers voted unanimously in November to certify the county's results from the Nov. 3 presidential election after initially deadlocking along party lines with the board's two Republican members voting against certification.

The board voted 4-0 to certify the election results but with a request to Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson to audit precincts that were discovered to be out of balance.

Board members initially failed to certify the county's Nov. 3 election results, splitting the vote to certify the results 2-2.

Read More: Wayne County Election Results Certified After Initial Deadlock

Although the votes were certified, the two Republican members of the board were scrutinized, especially after Palmer suggested at one point certifying the county's election results outside of Detroit.

Wayne County, a Democratic stronghold, is significant in that it is Michigan's largest county and is home to Detroit. Democratic President-elect Joe Biden carried Wayne County on his way to defeating President Donald Trump by more than 154,000 votes in Michigan.

In the state board of canvassers meeting, Palmer said she had been threatened and even cited receiving the photos mentioned in Wednesday's federal filings. In late November, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel confirmed that the state was investigating threats that have been made against members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers following their decision.

"We will investigate any credible complaints of threats to government officials, elected or appointed, and will prosecute criminal conduct to the fullest extent of the law," Nessel said at the time. "Serving the people — regardless of party — is an honorable but sometimes difficult and thankless task. And while many of us have been subjected to hateful and often obscene insults, threats of violence and harm will not be tolerated."

Read More: Michigan AG Investigating Threats Against Wayne County Canvassers

In addition to the text message threats sent to Palmer, federal filing documents detail threats made against her and her daughter on Instagram as well.

On Nov. 18, the documents state, Jones commented on photos on Palmer's Instagram page that included her address, husband's phone number and telling people to "feel free to leave these disgusting racist [sic] a nice little message on their voicemail or for more fun stop by their house."

A comment on a photo of Palmer, her husband and her daughter said "Your Daughter is beautiful. I'd be a shame if something happened to her," according to the federal complaint.

"Hmmm I'd be a shame if something happened to your daughter at school," another comment said.

Jones, who is formerly a resident of Olivet, Michigan, was arrested Wednesday morning. Federal agents on Tuesday executed a search warrant at her mother's New Hampshire home, where Jones had been staying, according to federal documents.

The federal complaint said Jones admitted she created a TextMe account from which she sent the messages. She also said she made the threats because she was angry Palmer "was interfering with the election," according to the filings.

This story is being updated.

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