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Ex-Marine compared his son’s arrest to that of Trump in “dying” America

The argument with Robert Shawn Detherow on Forsythe Lane lasted six hours on Wednesday. (© FlaglerLive)

“I’m going to smash your face with my teeth.”

“Look at me. I'm going to fucking kill you. I'm going to murder you. Look who the hell I am. I'm the fucking devil.”

“385 billion years, and that's how long I will torture you. You will be tortured.”

These are some of the threats Robert Shawn Detherow, 55, shouted at Flagler County Sheriff's Deputy Necole Marsan on Wednesday afternoon as she took him to the Flagler County Jail after a six-hour standoff with authorities at his home. He also threatened to rape her, rip off her limbs and call her misogynistic names.

He had recently left his house, either to surrender or to provoke officers into shooting him – in a video he posted four days earlier, he had suggested he wanted police to shoot him – and charged at Deputy Cameron Punsky. Other officers had to wrestle him to the ground and did not fire at him during the tense six hours.

KS, a 23-year-old resident of nearby Fenimore Lane, was also in the house and was arrested along with Detherow, but only for resisting arrest.

Detherow faces three charges, including second-degree aggravated assault on a police officer and a minor misdemeanor of exposing his genitals, as he did to a deputy during the standoff, with the same hand he used to wave a Bible in numerous YouTube videos as he described himself as a truth-teller doing God's work and urged Sheriff Rick Staly and deputies to come get him. (“If you're an American and you're not here with a Bible, you're wrong.”)

He was angry that officers arrested his 22-year-old son Hunter last March after Hunter got into a fight with two older men and allegedly stabbed one of them. Robert Detherow claims that his son's and his own Fourth Amendment rights were violated at the time of the arrest and that Hunger was arrested simply for “preaching about Jesus.”

Robert Detherow.
Robert Detherow.

Detherow blames Sheriff Rick Staly for this. But he also blames America for “going crazy,” for not paying its debts, locking up too many people, not praying, letting too many people cross the border, arresting Donald Trump, and not responding to his call to gather at a nearby house so everyone could confront Sheriff Rick Staly.

“They arrested a president of the United States, they locked up my child for preaching about Jesus, and now they're coming to my house after already getting a search warrant for it because they received false information and continue to violate the Fourth Amendment,” he says in one of five short videos he posted four days ago, each wearing some variation of his Marine uniform, standing in front of a fireplace with a big-screen television above it, and each ending with him dramatically walking off stage right.

“So, just so you're all clear, that's what this is about,” he says to the camera. “Either you come with me or you're going to watch your country die like the South did last time. And not just the South. This time, all of America is affected, every single piece of it, because if nobody stands up, it's OK to do that. That's right. Just like what you allowed them to do to President Trump. It's OK to do that. And all I'm saying is, grab a Bible, no bloodshed, because everyone is right. This place is fucked up and needs to be fixed. Period. So don't grab a gun. Grab a Bible and show up at 91 Forsythe Lane in Palm Coast, Florida, 32137, or watch your country sink to death. That's all.”

It is unclear why he referred to the address 91 Forsythe – a rental property – rather than his own property.

In his police report, he describes in detail what led to the confrontation on Wednesday with dozens of sheriff's units, including the St. Johns County Sheriff's Bomb Disposal Squad, and how it developed.

Music could be heard all night in the area of ​​94 Forsythe Lane. Strange objects were left lying on the streets, including something under a blanket so large that neighbors wondered if anyone was under it. Two chairs, a candle, and other objects were scattered about.

When officers arrived, RS appeared at the door, tipped his hat, and then went back inside before Detherow appeared and became “belligerent” with officers. He talked about how this was Judgement Day and that Staly needed to be arrested, and did not listen to the officer who asked him about the strange objects in the street. When the officer – Marsan, the same officer who had driven him to jail – did not relent, he became abusive toward her, asking her if she wanted to see his private parts, then removing them from his pants.

A neighbor on a bicycle passed by and called out to Detherow, who came out to talk to him and say something about him going to heaven. Tell him he's going to heaven soon. He then turned to a deputy and spewed a racial slur, using the N-word, while they continued to tell him they needed to remove the items from the street but didn't want to throw them away. He responded by throwing an empty bottle behind him, breaking it on his driveway.

As a deputy began clearing items from the street, he charged with a half-full bottle and threw it in his direction. The bottle shattered near the depression. The deputy retreated and drew his weapon while Detherow returned to his house, only to go in and out again, yelling at the assembled deputies outside. They could not understand what he was saying. He played loud music. He then began a series of actions that can only be described as reckless: He pulled out a speaker blaring loud music, charged in the direction of the deputies, and retreated, each time provoking a potentially fatal response. The deputies used non-lethal weapons to neutralize him. It did not work, and Detherow went back into his house.

The standoff continued to drag on. He did not communicate with the crisis negotiation team until shortly after 1 p.m., when he came out of his house and was arrested. He continued to make threats against the deputy on the way to the jail.

The sheriff described him on Wednesday as a “religious, fanatical survivalist.” In one of the videos, Detherow claimed that he had no firearms, but everything else necessary for a siege. That was not true. According to the sheriff's office, seven firearms and ammunition were confiscated from the house.

The videos are not overtly violent or threatening and are more enigmatic than insightful. Their only recurring themes are the need for a prayer meeting near his home and the need to confront Staly. In one video, Detherow urged Muslims and Jews to show up because “you're not getting out of here,” meaning they should join in the prayer as well. “And slavery wasn't that bad compared to what you're doing to these people in these prisons. I'd rather be a slave for seven years or a slave for eighty years, I don't care, than spend a day in one of these prisons, and that's probably where you're going to send me, right? Because I asked everyone to come to my house with a King James Bible.”

He talked about how prison sentences should be capped at seven years, except for child murderers and the like, and how debts should be written off after 35 years. He talked about how the national debt would ruin the country and make everything “spill out of control” – unless the country prayed for two years. But “there will be no Starbucks. There will be no Publix. There will be no food truck. There will be nothing, because we've already let a million people into our country and it's not safe. According to the Bible, our borders should be secure. In fact, God's death penalty is for moving a boundary marker. Yes.” (It's not.)

After talking about his “one big mess” in his six years in the Marines (something about Marines doing laundry during the day against regulations; he didn't mean that metaphorically), he was upset that his videos hadn't gone viral “because nobody cares that America is dying. And all you have to do is show up at 91 Forsythe Lane in Palm Coast, Florida, with a Bible, and we'll go and talk to Rick Staly and find out why he's violating the Constitution of the United States of America. That's all I want to do. But nobody wants to come. So we have three days, and I'm going to make sure I post everything tonight and just wait and don't open the door until the third day.”

He invited his friends to come to his property and pitch a tent, and those who weren't his friends were to “show up” in their cars. “So good luck. Either 91 Forsythe Lane in Palm Coast, Florida, or there's going to be a civil war somewhere else because nobody's reading the Bible anymore.”

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