FLINT, MI – A Fenton resident has been charged with four felonies related to his threats to kill his co-workers.
According to investigative reports from the Genesee County Safe Streets Task Force including the Michigan State Police and FBI, on March 9, 2018, Stephen Anthony Challis, 58-years-old, of Fenton, sent an email to 34 individuals in which he discusses a project he and the others have been working on and told them he would be forced to kill one of them and instructed them to each vote on which one of them he should kill. Included in the email was a picture of a shotgun.
According to the reports, Challis works remotely from his Fenton home for Flex Live Smarter Corporation, also known as Flextronics and perhaps other names, and is involved with a contracted project with Nexteer Automotive.
After the email was sent, concerned recipients reported it to authorities and Challis was arrested. Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton charged Stephen Challis with two counts of False Report or Threat of Terrorism, a 20-year felony, and two counts of Using a Computer to Commit a Crime, also a 20-year-felony.
Stephen Challis was arraigned in 67th District Court and released on a $60,000 personal recognizance bond with an electronic tether to his home.
“Making threats to shoot and kill others is something law enforcement and my office take very seriously,” said Prosecutor Leyton while announcing the charges.
“Our nation has experienced too many tragedies over the years with mass shootings in the workplace, in schools and other locations and anyone who makes threats to carry out such acts will be held accountable under the law,” Leyton said.
Prosecutor Leyton noted that Michigan law makes it a crime to threaten to commit an act of terrorism and to communicate that threat to another person. He emphasized that the law also specifically states that it is not a defense to prosecution that the defendant did not actually intend or have the ability to carry out the stated threat.
“This is not something to joke around about and the law is very clear about that,” Prosecutor Leyton said. “I am not going to second guess the true intentions of an individual who makes a threat to commit mass violence with a gun,” Prosecutor Leyton said.
“This is very similar to the recent cases I have charged where students have made threats to shoot up a school. The message I want to send is this: if you make such threats, you risk being arrested, charged, and prosecuted under the law,” Prosecutor Leyton said.