A few days short of the one-year anniversary of his threat to blow up two blocks of the nation’s capital, Floyd Roseberry will be returning to his home.
On Aug. 19, Roseberry, 50, left rural Cleveland County and drove his black pickup 450 miles north to Washington. There, he parked the truck on the sidewalk outside of the Library of Congress and began live-streaming on Facebook, demanding to speak with President Joe Biden and claiming he had a powerful bomb in his tool box.
“Better talk to me Joe,” he said.
Roseberry was arrested after he stepped out of his truck. He’s been jailed ever since. No bombs were found, other than the metal can the former welder held in his lap that he had fashioned to look like an explosive device.
His threats, however, led to mass evacuations and a two-hour stand-off with police. He remains charged with the use of weapons of mass destruction and threats to use explosive materials and faces up to life in prison if convicted.
On Monday, however, the North Carolina resident will leave the D.C. jail, according to a new order this week by U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreres, who overruled a government request to keep Roseberry in custody until his trial.
Once back in his hometown of Grover, N.C., 40 miles west of Charlotte, Roseberry will be on house arrest, under the supervision of his wife, and will be fitted with an ankle monitor. He must also keep an appointment next week with a Mooresville psychiatrist to make sure he remains properly medicated — and not on the drugs that his lawyers say helped trigger his one-man attempted siege of the capital.
In court filings last month calling for Roseberry’s pre-trial release, his D.C.-based defense team argued that their client had no previous history of violence and had battled mental illness since he was teen.
They also blamed his behavior last August on a bad prescription written by his doctor in North Carolina. Adderall and Valium that were supposed to treat Roseberry’s bi-polar disorder and depression instead may have caused “manic and psychotic episodes,” according to a forensic psychologist who treated the North Carolinian after his arrest.
After Roseberry was taken into custody, the D.C. jail modified his medication and he became more stable and remains so, court filings show. Roseberry, the records state, has become something of a model inmate, stepping in to protect a D.C. jailer who had been attacked by an inmate and left with a broken jaw. For his actions, Roseberry was pummeled with human waste by his cell mates and branded with the nickname “the police.”
Heroics aside, Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Tortorice told Contreres in a written argument that Roseberry remains a threat to the community, that based on his Facebook Live videos, Roseberry considered himself “at the vanguard of a revolution.”
“If all you m———–s wanna sit at home and explain to your kids why you didn’t go up there, you can do that, I’m good with that,” Roseberry said on one of his Facebook videos, according to Tortorice’s filing. “But for me, that ain’t what I am. I’m an American patriot. That’s what I am.”
In a later video Roseberry said he was “ready to die for a cause.”
Contreres, though, wasn’t persuaded, saying there remains a clear dispute among the parties in the case as to whether Roseberry had threatened to detonate a bomb at all.
The judge said proper medication and strict supervision “will reasonably ensure that Mr. Roseberry does not post a danger to the community.”
His trial has not been scheduled.
Roseberry is not the first North Carolinian to threaten violence and bring a section of Washington to a halt.
In December 2016, Edgar Welch of Salisbury fired an assault rifle inside a suburban D.C. pizzeria, later explaining that he was investigating a right-wing conspiracy claim that HiIlary Clinton and other top Democrats operated a sex-trafficking ring for children out of the restaurant’s basement.
He was sentenced to four years in prison and released in 2020.
This story was originally published August 13, 2022 10:43 AM.
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