Man arrested for allegedly threatening Thurston County judge

Staff writerApril 11, 2014 

Lacey police arrested a 35-year-old man Thursday after he allegedly threatened Thurston County Family Court Commissioner Jonathon Lack twice - once during a court hearing Wednesday, and later in a separate incident Wednesday night at Ramblin Jack's restaurant.

It is unclear whether the suspect followed Lack to Ramblin Jack's restaurant in Olympia after Wednesday's court hearing, or if they met by coincidence. Olympia police could not be reached for comment late Friday afternoon.

The suspect, Timothy Petrozzi, was ordered held at the Thurston County Jail during a court hearing Friday after a judge found probable cause to support two counts of intimidating a judge, a Class B felony. Petrozzi's bail was set at $25,000.

Petrozzi became incensed with Lack during a court hearing at Juvenile and Family Court on Mottman Road Wednesday afternoon, court papers state. Petrozzi was upset over a ruling Lack made in Petrozzi's pending divorce case, court papers state.

During Wednesday's hearing, Lack refused to grant Petrozzi's petition for a protection order against his estranged wife. Lack also renewed an existing protection order against Petrozzi ordering him to stay away from his estranged wife, court papers state.

In the petition for a protection order Petrozzi's wife filed last year, she wrote that Petrozzi "destroyed the inside of my home in a rage, he has pushed me around and slapped me, he has dragged me around the house causing injury."

Also according to court records:

After Lack ruled against Petrozzi during Wednesday's hearing, Petrozzi shouted obscenities and swore at Lack.

After Wednesday's hearing, as Lack was headed to his chambers, Petrozzi followed him to a court administration area and said, "There you are, I'm going to get you."

"Petrozzi's outbursts clearly alarmed everyone around him including court staff and civilians in the court administrative office."

Petrozzi was not arrested at the conclusion of Wednesday's court hearing, but was escorted from the courthouse by security.

Lack told courthouse security "that this incident had him completely concerned for his physical safety and felt that Petrozzi may harm him given the opportunity."

When Lack went to Ramblin Jack's early Wednesday evening, he sat at the front bar area, and immediately noticed when Petrozzi sat down next to him.

As Lack got up to leave, Petrozzi followed him outside, and said "Are you afraid I'm going to embarrass you in public?" Petrozzi also said something similar to "You'll wish you were back in Alaska."

Lack formerly held a position in Alaska similar to the one he now holds in Thurston Court as a Juvenile and Family Court Commissioner.

Petrozzi has a pending felony hit and run case for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol and then leaving the scene of an accident in Thurston County in June 2013, court papers state. He also has a second, misdemeanor DUI charge pending in Thurston County District Court.

In 2005, Petrozzi was charged in Thurston County with felony harassment when he told his ex-girlfriend he would "drive his car through her parents' home," court papers state. The felony harassment charge against Petrozzi was dismissed when he completed a diversion program in August 2006.

As a court commissioner, Lack typically hears cases involving divorce and child-custody. He can also issue protection orders.

Lack contacted Olympia police after the incident at Ramblin Jack's. Olympia police attempted to locate Petrozzi Wednesday night, but could not find him, Olympia Police spokeswoman Laura Wohl said.

Lacey police arrested Petrozzi Thursday about noon at a Sandy Lane residence, Wohl said.

He was booked at the Thurston County Jail on suspicion of intimidating a judge. The offense is a class B felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

Court staff who interviewed Petrozzi's family members wrote that he "has been having a very hard time emotionally and financially since his dissolution started last year." Petrozzi's pretrial services report also notes that, "obviously, his emotional stability is deteriorating. He was unable to manage his behavior in court and poses a threat to the judge or any other judicial officer (or even court staff)."

Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445; jpawloski@theolympian.com

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