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‘She sits on her couch daily watching the news while drinking too many beers’: Trump supporter accused of racist threats against Jan. 6 judge is locked up ahead of trial

Tanya Chutkan, Abigail Jo Shry

Tanya Chutkan (U.S. District Court photo), Abigail Jo Shry (Texas Department of Public Safety mugshot)

A supporter of Donald Trump’s apparently upset that the quadruply indicted former president faces a trial over Jan. 6 in U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan’s courtroom is in custody after threatening the jurist over the phone, according to the feds.

Abigail Jo Shry, 43, of Alvin, Texas, has a bond hearing set in the Southern District of Texas for Sept. 13, but in the meantime she remains detained ahead of trial for allegedly sending a threatening voicemail to Chutkan that called the judge a “slave n—.” The defendant also threatened Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), an affidavit said.

Chutkan, a Barack Obama appointee, received the threatening call in her chambers on the night of Aug. 5.

“Hey you stupid slave n—,” the call began.  The defendant also allegedly said, You are in our sights, we want to kill you,” “We want to kill Sheila Jackson Lee,”  “If Trump doesn’t get elected in 2024, we are coming to kill you, so tread lightly, b—,” and “You will be targeted personally, publicly, your family, all of it.”

Three days after the call, special agents with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security showed up at Shry’s home for a “knock and talk.”

“During consensual questioning, SHRY admitted that the phone number” which made the call “belongs to her and that she did in fact make the call to Judge Chutkan’s chambers,” the affidavit said. “SHRY stated that she had no plans to travel to Washington, DC or Houston to carry out anything she stated, adding that if Sheila Jackson Lee comes to Alvin, then we need to worry.”

After Shry’s arrest, the government moved to detain her. Court records show that a magistrate judge agreed, given the weight of evidence, the defendant’s prior criminal history, lack of a stable residence, lack of stable employment, and history of alcohol or substance abuse. U.S. Magistrate Judge Sam S. Sheldon noted that Shry has prior violations of probations, parole, or supervised release and said the defendant has been charged four times in the last year for “similar conduct.”

Brazoria County court records show that Shry pleaded guilty last September to criminal mischief, resisting arrest, search or transport, and interfering with public duties.

“On September 20, 2022, she was convicted in two separate cases (misdemeanor resisting arrest and misdemeanor criminal mischief) and sentenced to 30 days imprisonment. Recently, on July 11, 2023, she was charged with misdemeanor threat causing fear of imminent serious bodily injury. It is alleged that she committed the instant offense while on bond for the July 11 incident, less than one month after it occurred,” the magistrate judge wrote.

The judge said that Shry, a mother of two, “suffers from major depression and has a long history of substance abuse” and lives with her boyfriend, who is “presently charged with a family assault against her.”

Shry’s father testified that his daughter has a drinking and news consumption problem.

“Mr. Shry believes that Defendant is a non-violent alcoholic. He testified that she sits on her couch daily watching the news while drinking too many beers. She then becomes agitated by the news and starts calling people and threatening them,” the court recounted Mark Shry’s testimony. “Mr. Shry stated that his daughter never leaves her residence and therefore would not act upon her threats.”

Abigail Shry was ordered detained for the next 30 days — until the next detention hearing.

“The purpose of the hearing is to hear from the parties as to why Defendant should or should not be immediately released from custody and placed into an inpatient substance abuse therapy and mental health treatment program,” the judge wrote. “Before the hearing, the Court will request U.S. Probation to locate such program with available bed space.”

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.