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Inmate indicted for threats to kidnap, injure, rape judge

A Nevada inmate was ordered detained in federal custody Friday while he faces a felony charge of mailing a letter threatening to harm a retired Clark County district judge who had given him a stiff prison sentence.

Ryan Clifford Thorsen, 25, was indicted last week by a federal grand jury.

The one-page indictment alleges the inmate mailed the letter Oct. 2 to Kathy Hardcastle at the Regional Justice Center threatening to “kidnap and injure” the judge, who retired earlier in the year.

In July 2009, Hardcastle sentenced Thorsen to a maximum of five years in prison on a felony battery charge.

The sentence was to run concurrent with a maximum 30-month sentence he received from another judge in 2007 for an attempted battery conviction.

In federal court Friday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Phillip Smith said Thorsen indicated in his letter that he wanted to see Hardcastle dead, with her family and “maybe her dog.” Thorsen also said that when he got out of prison, he wanted to rape the judge with a Cuban cigar and then smoke it, Smith alleged.

State records show that Thorsen was last up for parole a year ago.

Hardcastle could not be reached for comment late Friday.

Thorsen pleaded not guilty to the federal charge, but U.S. Magistrate George Foley Jr. found the inmate was a danger to the community and should be held in federal custody while he awaits his April 29 trial. The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro.

Thorsen’s court-appointed deputy public defender told Foley that Thorsen was in an agitated state in court because he had not been given his medication.

At the defense lawyer’s request, Foley ordered Thorsen to undergo a mental evaluation. Thorsen was escorted into court under tight security by a half-dozen deputy U.S. marshals. He was in tight chains and wearing an opaque bag over his head to prevent him from spitting on people.

While waiting for Foley to arrive in the courtroom, a marshal sat next to Thorsen with an arm on his shoulder to keep him in place. Several times, marshals had to tell Thorsen to stop talking.

Prosecutors had Thorsen brought to Las Vegas for the arraignment from the Ely State Prison, according to court documents.

Contact Jeff German at jgerman@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-8135.

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