PHOENIX — The man accused of stalking Sheriff Joe Arpaio pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Tuesday morning.
Earlier this month, Ruben Pena Jr., 43, was arrested on a class 3 felony stalking charge and a class 4 felony hoax charge for allegedly stalking Sheriff Joe Arpaio and writing a letter which prompted a bomb sweep at a downtown Phoenix hotel.
KPHO reports Pena was already being investigated by sheriff’s deputies for visiting the sheriff’s downtown headquarters multiple times.
Pena, claiming to be “Jesus Christ,” visited the Headquarters Building on December 8, requesting to speak with the sheriff regarding an identification issue. Pena’s request was not completed in timely manner, at which time he left a letter which read: “Joe!!! Your [expletive] is mine Sincerely Your creator & Destroyer.”
Sheriff’s investigators determined Pena had been in the building several other times making statements of “The Sheriff is a piece of [expletive]”, and “This isn’t threatening but this piece of [expletive] is done”.
Just a week later, sheriff’s deputies found two letters written by Pena that were left in a bag on the headquarters property. The items written in the letters read: “Son of mary lou Bownds of the house of david can not receive any texts, calls, or see my face again until she accepts and confesses with her mouth that I am Jesus Christ Jr. Son of Jesus of Nazareth. Bag location is @ renaisance Fire/exit.”
This prompted a bomb sweep of the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Phoenix. This sweep was done to rule out any possible suspicious packages left at the hotel.
On Dec. 14, Pena reportedly continued to threaten the sheriff and said “I’m gonna kill him alright,” “I will awaken him. He will hear my voice and ambulances” and “That Arpaio is so charming, so considerate. He is occupying my position.” He also reportedly said, “I have all that he needs. I am his creator and destroyer.”
Pena was subsequently arrested and booked into 4th Avenue Jail.
His next court date is set for Feb. 10.
“Here is another man who is making threats against Sheriff Arpaio and others, yet walking around the streets of Phoenix,” said spoken Deputy Joaquin Enriquez.
Recently, a Canadian man was arrested several times for making eight death threats against Arpaio and his family.
Arpaio has a history of threats against him, such as Gregory Lynn Schrader, the suspect who mailed a dangerous explosive device to Arpaio in April of 2013. Schrader was sentenced in U.S. federal court to a long prison sentence. This is just one example of many threats and the convictions against Arpaio.