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Man accused in plot to attack Sac Democratic headquarters was nearly released. Here’s why he wasn’t


By Daniel Macht

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    SACRAMENTO, California (KCRA) — A federal judge was prepared to allow one of two men accused of plotting to attack the Democratic headquarters in Sacramento to be released to home detention on Tuesday.

But Jarrod Copeland will remain behind bars for now after his wife decided just before the announcement became official that she was not prepared to take on the responsibilities of being his court-appointed custodian.

Copeland, of Sacramento, and Ian Rogers, of Napa, are accused of planning the attack “using incendiary devices,” the FBI’s San Francisco office announced last week. The pair was influenced by the outcome of the 2020 election, officials have said.

Copeland has pleaded not guilty. Tuesday’s lengthy, virtual detention hearing focused on whether Copeland would be a danger to the community if released on bond.

Defense attorney John Ambrosio argued that Copeland had no history of violence and was not a flight risk.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Riebli said that Copeland was an “active participant” in the plot and could not be trusted not to attempt to reach out to militia groups.

Judge Alex Tse, of the Northern District of California, said he was prepared to release Copeland under the stipulation that he only use one phone with monitoring software, have no contact with militia groups, and be restricted from alcohol or steroid use.

Copeland’s wife, Sheila, said that she believed her husband was a “good man” who had engaged in “macho” bravado. She initially agreed to serve as his custodian but then asked to consult her lawyer after the judge explained the intense responsibilities of the role, including that she would have to report any violations by her husband to the court and could face jail time if she didn’t.

“I know this is tough,” the judge replied after the lawyer updated the court that Shelia Copeland would not take on the role. He said he appreciated the seriousness with which she undertook the decision.

Copeland, as a result, will remain in custody in the Santa Rita jail until another custodian can be found.

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