LOS ANGELES: A man is being held on terror charges in the US state of Oklahoma for allegedly threatening to behead a woman days before last week’s decapitation in a nearby city, police said Monday.
Jacob Muriithi, a Kenya native, allegedly made the threat and mentioned the Islamic State group to a woman working at a nursing home in Oklahoma City, although the woman thought he was joking.
But following last Friday’s beheading of a woman in nearby Moore, investigators took the threat more seriously and arrested Muriithi, Oklahoma City Police Department spokesman Dexter Nelson said.
“She didn’t know what ISIS was,” he said, referring to the IS group by a different acronym.
“When it was brought to her attention what that was, and knowing where he’s from, she began to doubt whether or not he was joking. She thought, well maybe he could be serious,” he said.
The Moore beheading — in which Alton Nolen, 30, allegedly decapitated a work colleague after being sacked at a food processing plant — is totally separate to the threat said to have been made by Muriithi.
In the threat made on September 13, Muriithi allegedly told the woman that he “represented ISIS.”
When she asked what that was, he said “they kill Christians by cutting off their heads.”
She asked why, to which he allegedly replied: “That is just what we do,” Nelson said, confirming details reported by local TV channel KFOR.
Muriithi then asked her what time she got off work.
He “told her he was going to wait until she got off work and … cut her head off with a dull blade, then post it on Facebook.”
Muriithi is being held in lieu of $1 million bond, the police spokesman added.
He was initially charged with threatening an act of violence, but that was subsequently changed to allegedly making “a terroristic threat,” thereby violating Oklahoma’s anti-terrorism law.
Last week’s decapitation in Moore and the separate Oklahoma City threat come after a series of beheadings of Western captives by jihadists in the Middle East and Algeria, but US officials have not confirmed any link to the Oklahoma cases.
Nelson stressed that last Friday’s beheading in Moore was a totally separate incident.
But he added: “It caused our investigators .. to take this threat much more seriously, (to) make it much more serious and much more credible.”