ST. LOUIS (CN) – The emergency management director for West Alton, Mo., faces a federal charge of threatening to murder a federal official. Gary Machens, 49, who is also a farmer, got angry during a meeting about a federal plan to preserve habitat at the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.
Machens told Mark Howell that he ought to shoot him and repeated the threat twice, court documents state. Howell is a wildlife biologist.
Machens is free on $5,000 bond. If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The habitat protection plan is dead because so many farmers opposed it, federal officials told the Suburban Journals newspaper chain.
West Alton is 20 miles north of St. Louis.