Politician gets death threat for robocall

Politician gets death threat for robocall

SPOKANE, Wash. - A robocall from a politician can interrupt your evening, but an Airway Heights man took such offense at one he recently received from Washington state Rep. Kevin Parker that police said he threatened to kill him.

Joseph Michael Vannett said frustration got the best of him, and he never intended to hurt anyone, but Parker said the alleged threats made him scared for his family's safety.

Parker said he received three voice mails with threats at his office over the weekend and Monday.

"On the phone he had talked about using weapons, he had talked about using weapons against me and my family and so forth," Parker said.

Parker adds he took the threats seriously and kept the family home while police looked for the suspect.

"The kids and Carrie were not home without me and the kids did not play outside. So we did exercise precaution yesterday," Parker said.

Vannett was arrested late Monday at his Airway Heights home and said during a jailhouse interview Wednesday the messages stem from a robocall he received several months ago that went to his answering machine. Vannett said he kept trying to delete the message but it wouldn't work, so he called the number left on the message.

"I called the number and got a voicemail each time. I ended up screaming at the phone," Vannett said.

Vannett added he doesn't even know who Parker is and said he had no intention of actually carrying out the threat, citing "anxiety" and "panic disorder" for saying what he did.

"It was not good. I have no intentions of hurting anyone. I was just upset," he said.

Vannett is being held on $15,000 bond on a harassment charge. Parker said this is the first time he's been threatened as an elected official.