Northeast Times

Lincoln High School worker staying in jail

Robert McK­enna

A bail hear­ing will be con­duc­ted on Fri­day, Oct. 11, for a Lin­coln High build­ing en­gin­eer who po­lice said threatened to shoot “any cop that looks at me wrong.”

Robert McK­enna has been in jail with bail set at $1 mil­lion ever since he was ar­res­ted on weapons charges Sept. 26. And he isn’t go­ing any­where even if he can post that bail be­cause Mu­ni­cip­al Court Judge Brad­ley K. Moss on Oct. 4 ordered McK­enna held on a psy­chi­at­ric de­tain­er.

Pub­lic de­fend­er Geof­frey Kil­roy on Oct. 4 had ar­gued his cli­ent needed a psy­chi­at­ric eval­u­ation and that all leg­al pro­ceed­ings should stop un­til it was com­plete.

“This per­son is in­com­pet­ent,” Kil­roy said. “He is de­lu­sion­al.”

As­sist­ant Dis­trict At­tor­ney Tracie Gay­dos ar­gued com­pet­ency was not the is­sue at Fri­day’s hear­ing. She said the DA’s Of­fice wanted to re­voke McK­enna’s bail to keep him in cus­tody while his case makes its way through the courts. She said McK­enna had made state­ments in jail “of a threat­en­ing nature.”

McK­enna had been taken in­to cus­tody at the Ry­an Av­en­ue high school for men­tal eval­u­ation on Sept. 20, po­lice said. While po­lice were at the high school, McK­enna’s pickup was searched and weapons were found, po­lice said. He was ar­res­ted on the weapons charges Sept. 26 upon his re­lease from Friends Hos­pit­al. His bail was set and he has been in the Cur­ran-From­hold Cor­rec­tion­al Fa­cil­ity ever since.

Moss told the de­fend­ant the DA’s Of­fice wanted to hold him without bail, and the judge ex­plained to him the law that al­lowed that. Moss told McK­enna he could be held if he were thought to be too dan­ger­ous to be al­lowed out of jail.

“I’ve owned guns for a while and nobody’s been hurt by them,” McK­enna told Moss.

Last week, po­lice cir­cu­lated an in­tern­al de­part­ment­al re­port that McK­enna, while mak­ing a call at the pris­on, had threatened to “put two in the face” of any cop that “looks at me wrong.” The call had been mon­itored by po­lice.

The Sept. 30 re­port from the Po­lice De­part­ment’s Crim­in­al In­tel­li­gence Unit’s Pris­on In­tel­li­gence Group was widely cir­cu­lated with­in the de­part­ment. Gay­dos played a re­cord­ing of that phone call for Kil­roy Fri­day. 

A school dis­trict spokes­wo­man said po­lice searched Lin­coln on Sept. 20 be­cause McK­enna had ac­cess to most areas of the school. Po­lice said no oth­er weapons were found and that all the locks in the school were changed.

McK­enna has been as­signed to Lin­coln since Oc­to­ber 2007, ac­cord­ing to dis­trict spokes­wo­man Deirdre Dar­ragh. McK­enna was first hired as a cus­todi­al help­er in Au­gust 1986.

Joseph Blake, the Sher­iff’s De­part­ment’s spokes­man, said war­rant unit depu­ties had gone to McK­enna’s home on the 4300 block of Dever­eaux Ave. to ex­ecute a court-ordered evic­tion on Sept. 20. 

Blake said the depu­ties had ob­tained in­form­a­tion that led them to con­tact po­lice, who along with the war­rant unit, went to Lin­coln High. Blake said McK­enna was taken in­to cus­tody, turned over to po­lice and sub­sequently com­mit­ted to Friends Hos­pit­al.

Dur­ing Fri­day’s hear­ing, Gay­dos said she wanted to present ex­cerpts from a 198-page doc­u­ment found in McK­enna’s pickup on Sept. 20, but Moss told her she would have to give a copy of the en­tire doc­u­ment to de­fense at­tor­neys.

In­stead, Gay­dos played the re­cord­ing of McK­enna’s pris­on phone call in which he threatened to shoot po­lice. At the be­gin­ning of the call, a re­cor­ded mes­sage warns the caller that his con­ver­sa­tion will be re­cor­ded. After McK­enna’s re­marks are heard, the per­son he called re­minded him he was be­ing re­cor­ded.

“Bobby, stop it!” she said. “They’re tap­ing this call.”

“I don’t care,” was the reply.

Most of the call, however, fo­cused on McK­enna’s re­quests to get a law­yer who could lower his bail.

McK­enna is sched­uled for a hear­ing Fri­day, Oct. 11, in Room 406 of the Crim­in­al Justice Cen­ter, 13th and Fil­bert streets. ••

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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