By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
A Yukon-area man faces up to 10 years in prison for threatening to kill his former boss.
John Howard Stafford, 44, has been formally charged in Canadian County District Court with planning an act of violence on Jan. 31. That same day he allegedly threatened to slit police officers’ throats and “cut” a detective with a steak knife.
Prosecutors allege Stafford violated state law “by devising a plan, scheme or program of action to kill Peter Jankowski with the intent to perform such malicious act of violence,” according to court documents.
The felony charge stems from a Jan. 31 incident investigated by Oklahoma City Police as described in an arrest warrant affidavit signed by detective Thomas VanNort.
Jankowski, of Edmond, is owner of a company where Stafford had worked before being fired the previous day.
Oklahoma City Police responded to Stafford’s home in the 10800 block of NW 36th Terrace about 10 a.m. Jan. 31 after Jankowski and other staff began receiving threatening text messages and emails, court records indicate.
Stafford was belligerent and intoxicated when officers tried to speak with him about the comments. He threw a kitchen knife out the door and an alcoholic beverage in their direction while spouting expletives, according to the affidavit.
A broken vodka bottle was later found outside his front door.
Police returned to Stafford’s house about 4:30 p.m. that day after reports of shots fired, finding that he had come out to destroy the fence between his and a neighbor’s home.
Shortly before 8 p.m., Stafford reportedly started making 911 calls to the Yukon Police Department. (Although his home has a Yukon address, it is in Oklahoma City limits.)
TEN 911 CALLS
In one of the 10 calls to 911, the defendant allegedly said he was going to murder his former supervisor Jankowski.
“Stafford said he is going to go to Jankowski’s house because he has been there before,” Det. VanNort wrote in the arrest warrant affidavit. “Stafford also said he could find Jankowski at work. Stafford said Jankowski ‘is not going to escape me’.”
The police investigator and another officer returned to Stafford’s home at about 8:20 p.m. Jan. 31 to again try to reason with Stafford and give him the chance to speak and give up peacefully. But that didn’t work.
“When he would not leave, Stafford held a steak knife up to the inside of the glass on his front door and told me if I came in, he was going to cut me with the knife,” according to VanNort’s affidavit.
“He also told other officers at the door he was going to slit their throats. Officers staying present at the home this time to prevent Stafford from assaulting or murdering anyone.”
The detective informed Jankowski of the direct threat, and the alleged victim was fearful the threat was legitimate.
Stafford was booked into the Canadian County Jail on Feb. 12 after Special Judge Charles Gass issued a warrant for his arrest. Bond was set at $5,000.