SAN JOSE -- A Santa Clara man threatened a Bay Area state senator in a violently explicit email where he boasted how he could use his purported military-trained sniper skills to assassinate the politician while hidden in the shadows of the state Capitol, according to just-unsealed court documents.
"I have 39 confirmed kills in afganistan (sic)," the message stated. "Don't make me get to 40."
The statement of facts used by prosecutors to charge Everett Fred Basham, 45, had been sealed since his Feb. 12 arrest, based on a Jan. 11 email sent to State Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco. The arrest led to a search of the defendant's home that turned up a weapons cache and bomb-making wares, some of which were detonated by bomb technicians on the front lawn.
Basham, who is being held without bail in the Santa Clara County Jail, has pleaded not guilty to a dozen charges including criminal threats with an armed enhancement, two counts of possessing a destructive device and two counts of possessing materials with intent to make an explosive.
Other details from the unsealed documents include allegations Basham used sophisticated counterfeiting materials such as microchips to fabricate the credentials of an Army serviceman, an identity he may have used as an alias.
An engineer by trade, Basham's alleged email reads as a methodical attempt to derail the senator's latest efforts to tighten state gun laws. It was signed with the name "Tran Cho"
"If you succeed in passing a bill that bans AR15 weapons in california (sic) just know these things," the email begins.
The message proceeds with a nine-point list in which the author claims, among other things, to be a trained Marine sniper with "over 200 rounds of ammunition" and a high-powered rifle that "can hit a spinal cord at 1.5 miles making a head become red mist."
The numbered points grow increasingly specific: "I know where your office and where the state capital (sic) building is in Sacramento. I have hiding spots around both with clean view," followed by "I can wait hidden for you to walk past my mil dot scope," the latter part referring to a specific type of rifle targeting scope.
The email ends by telling Yee to "Check 6 every day" -- borrowing a military term to say "watch your back" -- and to read the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Yee's office declined comment on the details revealed in the unsealed documents, referring to the senator's previous statements, where he said the threats have had no impact on his resolve to take on gun issues.
Basham's military experience could not be immediately verified. He told investigators at the time of his arrest that he had served in the 1980s, but refused to elaborate.
The email was first received by Yee's district office in San Mateo, which forwarded it to his Sacramento office, where staff contacted the California Highway Patrol, which handles legislative security. CHP officers served a search warrant to Google and traced the email to Basham, who records showed logged into the corresponding account the day it was sent.
Their investigation revealed Basham is an alum of UC Davis and once worked at Hewlett-Packard. He also briefly worked for Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, who after Basham's arrest urged the public to withhold judgment on his former employee until more facts were known.
CHP officers watched Basham for four days before they approached him Feb. 12 outside his parents' Sunnyvale home. Their concern about Basham's potential for violence was high enough that they staged between 20 and 25 officers at least half a mile away, according to preliminary-hearing testimony Friday by CHP Officer Byron Wong, who wrote the statement of facts.
Wong testified officers spoke with Basham for about half an hour before he was arrested. A loaded 9mm semiautomatic pistol was found in his car, along with a scope for a Barret 416 sniper rifle.
Daniel Barton, Basham's attorney, appeared to be suggesting in his questioning of Wong on the stand Friday that his client may have been under the influence of opiates for medical reasons at the time of the door-front interrogation. Wong testified Basham did tell him that he suffered from back problems due to scoliosis and was on medication.
The attorney also drew attention to how the rifle Basham owned, a Barret 416, was different from the M82 Barret mentioned in the email to Yee.
Later, Wong testified that when he asked Basham if he knew Sen. Yee, the defendant said "that the only senator he was aware of was Sen. (Dianne) Feinstein."
Barton was unavailable for comment Tuesday.
Following Basham's arrest, a CHP bomb squad descended on Basham's home on Humbolt Avenue in Santa Clara. They found what was described as "numerous items" consistent with the "manufacturing of homemade improvised explosives," including the "high explosive" Mannitol Hexanitrate, which technicians detonated on the front lawn.
A garage search turned up cylindrical bird bombs -- typically used to scare away birds from locations like airport runways -- that had been modified with fuses and tape. The squad also found ammonium nitrate next to rusted washers and razor blades. They transported the materials away from the neighborhood and detonated them at the San Jose Police Department's explosives range.
Beyond the explosives, investigators found the sniper rifle, several long rifles and pistols, and four assault weapons, the CHP reported in court documents. When he was arrested, Basham had an Army ID with his photo but the name "Robert Richter," which officers confirmed with Army officials were fake. At the Humbolt Avenue home, they found medical records and other military records that did not belong to Basham, along with "blank military ID cards with microchips, printers and failed attempts of counterfeited military ID cards."
Staff writers Mark Emmons and Eric Kurhi contributed to this report. Contact Robert Salonga at 408-920-5002. Follow him at Twitter.com/robertsalonga.