Former PFI worker faces felony charge for alleged death threat
Police arrested Mark Diega, 50, of Chula Vista, Calif., on a Class C felony charge of Terroristic Threatening in the 2nd Degree on Friday after he allegedly threatened to kill PFI staff and went shopping at the Trading Union (TU) Hardware store for a gun and ammunition. Prior to the incident, Diega was employed as a seasonal worker for PFI.
According to a probable cause statement submitted by Sergeant James Kerr to the court, Diega was looking at a .22 caliber assault-style rifle and 1,000 rounds of ammunition, before leaving the store, saying “he would be right back.” The TU employee that spoke with Diega overheard him say, “F--- PFI. I’m going to kill them all,” at which time he went to PFI to notify them of the situation, according to the police statement.
The Terroristic Threatening charge relates to an individual “knowingly making false reports that a circumstance dangerous to human life existed or was about to exist” and that “a person was placed in reasonable fear of physical injury,” according to court documents.
In the police statement, Kerr said that Diega stated that “he did not have enough money to buy the gun” and that had he been able to make the purchase “he was going to send it (the gun) to his brother.”
Diega consented to a portable breath test while in custody at the Petersburg Police Department, which showed Diega had a .247 blood alcohol content level. PFI Manager Patrick Wilson said that so far this season his employees haven’t posed many problems, but presently and historically, any problems that do occur are often alcohol-related.
Magistrate Judge Mike A. Jackson presided over a bail hearing for Diega yesterday to consider a request made by Diega’s counsel to amend a geographic restriction requiring Diega to stay in Petersburg upon posting bail. The request was approved by the judge, and the defendant’s counsel said Diega would like to return to Chula Vista. Diega posted the $500 bail Wednesday, and his next scheduled appearance is a preliminary hearing before Superior Court Judge William Carey on August 18 at 3:30 p.m. at the Petersburg Courthouse.