A Vermont man faces federal charges for threatening to kill his own attorney, a prosecutor and a judge.
Josh Puma, 35, was arraigned on Monday on three counts of transmitting threats in interstate commerce to injure the person of another, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Vermont. He pleaded not guilty to all three charges.
“According to court documents and proceedings, the instant charges involve allegations that Puma called a Vermont Department of Corrections reporting line and threatened to kill a state court judge, a defense attorney, and a state prosecutor and to sexually assault that same prosecutor,” the press release states. “The calls were recorded, and Puma specifically stated that when he is released from jail, he will use violence and kill and maim those state officials, in addition to harming and killing other members of the legal community.”
The alleged threats were made in the fall of last year, according to an indictment.
Prosecutors said that Puma also faces charges for simple assault and stalking for another case. He has been incarcerated at the Southern State Correctional Facility since March and it’s not his first time behind bars.
“Puma has been in and out of the state criminal justice system for many years, and in September 2019, while in state court, he punched his defense attorney in the face which caused her to fall to the ground,” they stated, noting that it “took five security officers to restrain him.”
He later pleaded guilty to assaulting his attorney and was sentenced to four to 12 months as a result.
Puma had also been accused in 2013 of being involved with Vermont’s heroin trade.
He faces up to five years behind bars for each count related to the recent alleged threats of violence.
The attorney’s office states that Puma was “recently ordered hospitalized by the state court due to mental health considerations.”
In court filings, they state that he is “violent” and “clearly has mental health issues and those will need to be addressed."
It’s not clear if Puma has a lawyer and the attorney’s office notes that he is “presumed innocent unless and until he is proven guilty.”