No Weapons Found in Home of Gaithersburg Man

By Philip Rucker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, August 16, 2008

Maryland State Police said yesterday that they did not find any weapons when they searched the Gaithersburg home of a man arrested on charges of threatening to kill Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and other public officials.

James A. Frost, 64, a former federal government lawyer, was released on $50,000 bond early yesterday.

Frost wrote a note detailing his plans to perform "a hit job" on O'Malley (D), Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), Catholic Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien of Baltimore and Maryland Bar Counsel Melvin Hirshman, according to a charging document filed in District Court. In the note, which was given to police by Frost's estranged wife, he called the planned attacks "the thing to do."

Frost also wrote a note stating that he intended to purchase a handgun from a Burtonsville gun shop, according to the document. And an e-mail recovered from Frost's computer suggested that he might have wanted to harm Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), said state police Sgt. Michael Brennan, who was among the officers who on Thursday searched Frost's home, in the 100 block of Billingsgate Lane.

"The main thing we were looking for were things that had the potential to harm someone," Brennan said. "We didn't find any weapons."

But police investigators believed Frost's threats to be credible, Sgt. Melanie Bowling said.

"I can't tell you what was in his head," she said. "All I can tell you is that we had enough info, and it was compelling enough to have an investigation and his arrest."

Frost, whom court records identify as a former lawyer for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, was arrested Wednesday and released from the Montgomery County Detention Center about midnight yesterday morning.

Frost's wife of 13 years, Ana Marie Frost, 61, filed for divorce last summer and has been living in Florida, according to court records. She told police that her husband has a history of mental illness dating to his 20s, has obsessive-compulsive disorder and writes notes for "everything he intends to do, including trivial things," according to the charging document.

She told police that her husband worked on former Maryland governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s campaign and "became very distraught" when the Republican lost his reelection bid against O'Malley in 2006. Frost "accused O'Malley as being a hypocritical Catholic because of his views on abortion and homosexuality," his wife told police. She added that he talked about "his hatred toward Senators Barbara Mikulski, Hillary Clinton and others," the document says.

The e-mail regarding Clinton, which was recovered from Frost's home computer, "wasn't really a threat" but gave police concern, Brennan said.

"It was leading up to that, but it wasn't really a threat," Brennan said. "He was speaking about how people protected her, how he disliked her politics, that kind of thing."

Maryland court records show that Montgomery prosecutors dropped a separate threat charge and a resisting-arrest charge against Frost last week. In recent months, Frost's state bar card was confiscated and he made "improper comments" toward Montgomery Circuit Court Administrative Judge Ann S. Harrington, Circuit Court Clerk Loretta E. Knight and others, the charging document says.

Reginald Bours, Frost's attorney in other cases, said Friday that he could not comment on the most recent threat allegations because he had not been hired to represent Frost in this case. Nobody answered the telephone at Frost's home yesterday.

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