GARDEN CITY, Kan. – A Kansas man accused of holding a judge hostage has been charged with terrorism and is jailed on $1.3 million bond, authorities said Wednesday.
A criminal complaint says 33-year-old Jason Linn Nichols was charged Tuesday with terrorism and could face up to seven more counts including kidnapping and making a criminal threat.
Nichols is accused of breaking into the Garden City home of Finney County Judge Wendel Wurst on May 31 and holding Wurst and his wife hostage. Police said the suspect was armed and was upset over a custody case that Wurst had handled.
Wurst’s wife was released after several minutes and fled to a neighbor’s home, but it was several hours before Nichols surrendered to police and Wurst was released unharmed.
“Kansas law defines terrorism to include the commission of a felony with the intent to influence government policy by intimidation or coercion or with the intent to affect the operation of any unit of government,” Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said in a statement Wednesday.
In Kansas, a terrorism conviction carries a possible life prison sentence, according to Schmidt’s office.
It’s unclear if Nichols has a lawyer to comment on his behalf. He’s scheduled to appear June 15 in Finney County District Court.