Wednesday, May 5th, 2010
Zuma voter accused of making threats
By Margie Wuebker
MONTEZUMA - A 95-year-old Montezuma man faces a charge of inducing panic after he allegedly threatened to get a gun and return to the Franklin school polling location Tuesday afternoon.
James H. Dalton, 5289 Windy Point Road, is scheduled to appear in Celina Municipal Court at 9 a.m. Friday. The first-degree misdemeanor carries a possible sentence of up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine upon conviction.
Dalton reportedly came to the building around 1 p.m. to cast his vote and left. He returned minutes later complaining the site was not properly marked and allegedly told a female poll worker he was going home to get a gun.
Mercer County Sheriff's deputies responded after being notified of the threat. The site initially was placed on lockdown with a deputy assigned to ensure the safety of poll workers, as well as people coming to vote.
Dalton was located at his home a short time later and taken to the Mercer County Adult Detention Center. He posted a $225 bond before being released into a son's custody on the condition he not be left alone before 8:30 p.m. Sheriff Jeff Grey explained the timeframe allowed for the polls to close and workers to leave.
"We can't take chances in today's world," Grey said this morning. "Going home to get a gun is not something you say in places like airports, courthouses and even the polls. We did not know his intentions so we responded in a precautionary manner."
Authorities checked allegations of insufficient marking at the school and found flags used similar to other designated sites.
Dalton visited The Daily Standard office this morning with his citation in hand, explaining he drove around several times trying to find the polling place.
"I'll soon be 96 and I've never been arrested or received a ticket before," he said. "I told those poll workers the place is not well marked and that I was going home to get a six-shooter to do something about the problem. They all laughed and I waved on my way out. Whatever happened to freedom of speech?"
Dalton admitted being surprised when a uniformed deputy came to his house and placed him under arrest. He reportedly offered no resistance and was not placed in a detention center cell while authorities attempted to reach a family member.
"The deputy put on the handcuffs right in front of my neighbors," the man added shaking his head in disbelief. "I had trouble getting into the back seat (of the cruiser) with two artificial hips. He told me I am the oldest person he ever arrested."