BRISTOL - A man who was arrested for making a threatening post on Facebook toward Bristol Hospital will undergo a competency evaluation after more questionable posts by him were discussed in court Tuesday.
The order for Richard Stark, 52, was made by Judge Maureen Keegan during an appearance for him in New Britain Superior Court.
Prior to the order, state Prosecutor Elizabeth Moseley shared a packet of Facebook posts that she said aren’t directly pointed at Bristol Hospital, but appear to make a close reference to it that could cause others in the community to have concern. Stark, who was previously ordered by the court to not make any posts about the hospital or its employees, said there was a misunderstanding of posts interpretations. Copies of the posts were not immediately available. He is released from custody on $10,000 bond.
Moseley asked if the court would consider placing an order on Stark to not make any Facebook posts, but his attorney, Melissa Smith, said that would be an infringement on his First Amendment, freedom of speech rights. That order was not placed as Keegan said the previous order placed on him was in a very specific manner, as it relates to a case that involves threatening, but protects his First Amendment rights.
Attorney Pat Cooney, who is representing Bristol Hospital in the case, had no objection to the competency evaluation saying all his client wants is for Stark to get any help he may need and for their employees to be left alone as they do their job. He said he was aware of some of the posts Moseley shared in court but not all of them.
An offer has been made in the case, which was not immediately clear. He is due back on Oct. 31.
Stark was charged on Feb. 12 with first-degree threatening and second-degree breach of peace in the case.
His arrest came after making a post on Facebook on Feb. 9 that said, “Regretting not making the rounds on you [expletives] 7 years ago, I could have gone house to house in the early morning capping everyone of you backstabbing [expletive] until I ran out of ammo or was stopped,” according to the warrant for his arrest.
Investigators believe the Facebook post was directed at Bristol Hospital, as Stark was arrested in 2012 for saying he wanted to commit a mass shooting there.
In September 2012, Stark called 911 and said he was “to the edge of walking there with my rifle and killing everyone” at Bristol Hospital. He hung up and later called back, saying, “I am taking my rifle and I am heading to the hospital. I’m going there with my rifle and demanding my medical records.”
Stark has also been convicted of sending harassing messages to the FBI.
Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or firstname.lastname@example.org.