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‘My mouth is a weapon’: Inmate who threatened president seeks parole

By Pat Reavy, KSL | Posted - Apr. 2, 2020 at 8:04 p.m.



UTAH STATE PRISON — A man with a history of making terroristic threats, frequently toward the president, said he knows he’s caused a lot of trouble.

“There’s no way to say no to that, ‘cause I did do all those,” David Grant Torrey said during a recent parole hearing when a list of his crimes was read to him.

“My mouth is a weapon. I don’t think before I talk,” he said.

But Torrey believes that within the last two months he has finally started to turn the corner.

“I’m really trying to change, which honestly is surprising to me because I didn’t think I’d be that type of person,” he said in a recording of the hearing. “I cannot be the little kid. I need to be the grown man. I don’t like being the person out in the community that scares people.”

In February 2017, the Hurricane man pleaded guilty to making a terroristic threat for threatening on Instagram to blow up the White House. That plea followed other guilty pleas in February 2015, April 2016 and June 2016 to making threats to blow up various buildings, according to court records.

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In April 2017, after receiving probation for his prior guilty plea, Torrey was arrested again for making “terroristic threats towards the White House as well as making bomb threats toward locations listed within Hurricane as he traveled through,” according to a police affidavit. He was convicted and this time was ordered to serve one to 15 years at the Utah State Prison.

But in September 2018, during a check of Torrey’s prison cell, officers found a kite with notes attached to it, according to charging documents.

“The letters state that inmate David Grant Torrey, aka Assad Mahummud, was the leader of an ISIS terrorist cell called the White Brotherhood,” the charges state.

The letters went on to say that his terrorist group would “bomb” the prison to get him out, and then he would go to Washington D.C. to “kill the president, vice president, all cabinet members and the families of all those officials,” according to the charges.

Torrey was convicted a year later for that incident on another charge of making a terroristic threat.

Torrey, now 28, appeared before a member of the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole on March 24. Pro tem board member Steven Roth pointed out to Torrey that he has had a lot of behavioral problems while behind bars.

Torrey said he has borderline personality disorder, and he can’t get into the right kind of therapy while in prison.


My mouth is a weapon. I don’t think before I talk.

–David Grant Torrey


“I have mental issues, but I’m not trying to make it as an excuse,” he said. “I don’t get the therapy I need here.”

But Torrey also admitted that he didn’t take the treatment that was available to him very seriously until about two months ago. “I believe in treatment now,” he said.

Torrey said he is learning new coping skills so he doesn't speak before thinking, and has learned how to be empathetic toward other people. He also claims he is “more at peace” now due to his religion.

Roth said he appreciates that Torrey seems to have more of a desire to change his behavior now, but he will likely have to show he can keep up that positive mindset for longer than two months before the board will consider setting a parole date.

The full five-member board will now vote on whether to grant parole or schedule another hearing for Torrey at a future date.

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