Terrorism threat defendant to have competency exam

CRYSTAL FALLS – An Iron River man accused of making threats of terrorism will undergo an examination to determine his competency to stand trial and criminal responsibility.

Anthony Lee Nielsen, 36, appeared in Iron County Trial Court on Monday.

He faces one felony count of false report or threat of terrorism and one misdemeanor count of controlled substance-possession of marijuana.

The criminal complaint alleges that Nielsen “did threaten to commit an act of terrorism and did communicate that threat to another person” between Aug. 10 and Aug. 12.

If convicted, Nielsen faces up to life in prison due to his habitual offender-fourth status.

According to the complaint, Nielsen was previously convicted of criminal sexual conduct-fourth degree-victim age 13-16 in 2003; felony accessory after the fact to a felony in 2004; and controlled substance-deliver/manufacture marijuana in 2009.

The motion requesting the mental evaluation was filed by Iron County Prosecuting Attorney Melissa Powell, and was granted by Judge C. Joseph Schwedler after he heard arguments from both Powell and defense attorney Geoffrey Lawrence.

According to Powell, witnesses allege that Nielsen made comments about flying away in a spaceship during the incident in question.

Nielsen denies making reference to a spaceship and believes he is able to properly assist in his own defense, Lawrence said.

Nielsen is currently being held on a $100,000 cash bond. Schwedler denied a request from Lawrence to reduce bond in the case.

The Iron River Police Department has not released details concerning the incident that led to the charges.

Powell was unable to comment on the case but described the alleged offense as “threats against our citizens and institutions” while addressing the court.

Evan Reid’s e-mail address is