DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - For the third time in recent weeks, an individual from outside Volusia County has been extradited into town for death threats against Sheriff Mike Chitwood. Cristhian Zapata, a 23 year-old from Ansonia, Connecticut, has been tied by police to a violent message against Chitwood in response to the Sheriff's recent stand against anti-Semitism.
"I WILL KILL CHITWOOD, MARK MY WORDS" was posted on 4Chan, an online messaging board, by an account investigators tied to Zapata. His sister told law enforcement that she was aware of white supremacist beliefs held by her brother, and that he'd become involved with extremist chat rooms. She also said he had a fascination for Adolf Hitler.
Zapata reportedly confessed to having made the statement when police questioned him at his Connecticut residence, where he lives with his mother. It was also said that he attempted to defend himself under the First Amendment's free speech clause. The 2003 Supreme Court Case Virginia v. Black is often cited by legal scholars as a landmark for the exclusion of threats from First Amendment protection.
There have now been three men accused of threatening Chitwood's life flown in from out-of-state to answer for the charges in Volusia County. Richard Golden of New Jersey and Tyler Meyer of California were accused of similar offenses. All three cases are linked to comments made by Chitwood condemning anti-Semitic and white supremacist activists in Volusia County, going so far as to print t-shirts depicting himself flushing them down a toilet.