(JTA) — Federal agents arrested a West Virginia man on Thursday for allegedly threatening jurors and witnesses in the trial of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter, which culminated last week in a death sentence.
The man who was arrested, Hardy Lloyd, 45, is “a self-proclaimed ‘reverend’ of a white supremacy movement,” according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s office in the northern district of West Virginia. The statement said Lloyd “made threatening social media posts, website comments, and emails towards the jury and witnesses during the trial.” He is charged with obstruction of justice, witness tampering and transmitting threats in interstate and foreign commerce.
“Jury trials are a hallmark of the American justice system and attempts to intimidate witnesses or jurors will be met with a strong response,” U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld said in the statement. “The use of hateful threats in an effort to undermine a trial is especially troubling.”
The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh welcomed the arrest. It said Lloyd had also targeted survivors of the 2018 attack, the victims’ families and employees of the federation and Secure Community Network, a nonprofit that coordinates security for Jewish institutions.
“The offender in this case targeted the Jewish community for years with hate, vitriol and calls for violence,” Michael Masters, the CEO of the Secure Community Network, said in a statement. “The offender sought to terrorize the community. We now seek justice and accountability.”
According to the federation and Masters’ group, Lloyd extolled Robert Bowers, the man who carried out the attack at the Tree of Life synagogue building, killing 11 worshippers. Lloyd’s statements also allegedly referred to Squirrel Hill, the neighborhood where the shooting took place, which has a reputation for being tight-knit and friendly. It was also the home neighborhood of the late Fred Rogers, the longtime children’s TV host.
“All jews must be murdered. The jew race MUST be wiped out…So, target jews as BOWERS did …” one of Lloyd’s threats allegedly read, according to the federation and Secure Community Network. They said another of his threats read, “make the myths of Hitler seem like Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood … start kidnapping jews and torturing them to death.”
Wheeling, West Virginia, Lloyd’s hometown, is commuting distance from Pittsburgh. Lloyd alleged left stickers in heavily Jewish areas of Pittsburgh directing people to his website.
He has long been known to law enforcement for harassing the Jewish community and has been sentenced to prison three times, the local CBS affiliate reported. He was most recently released in 2020, according to the Jewish federation and Secure Community Network.
Last year, the Texas Department of Public Safety offered a $1,000 award for information leading to the arrest of Lloyd, who was wanted in the state for making terroristic threats.