© 2024 Western New York Public Broadcasting Association

140 Lower Terrace
Buffalo, NY 14202

Mailing Address:
Horizons Plaza P.O. Box 1263
Buffalo, NY 14240-1263

Buffalo Toronto Public Media | Phone 716-845-7000
WBFO Newsroom | Phone: 716-845-7040
Your NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Grand Island man convicted of threatening two Congress members

Mike Desmond

It took a federal court jury around 90 minutes to convict Grand Island resident Carlos Bayon Wednesday of threatening two members of Congress.

Bayon admitted leaving phone messages for two members of Congress. However, he said they were just expressions of outrage.

Bayon was arrested after the Capitol Police called the FBI and charged with two counts of interstate threats. After his arrest, agents found ammunition, a sales receipt for a rifle and books on firearms and explosives.

A later search of a storage locker found the rifle, more ammuntion and ingredients for explosives. More charges were filed.  

U.S. Attorney James Kennedy said someone can object to laws and seek change.

"When people disagree with that law, the Constitution provides very specific means which may be pursued in order to have that law changed," he said. "Whereas, here, a person who expresses their disagreement of the law through threats, we must send a message that such threats are not acceptable and will not be tolerated."

Bayon was charged with threatening two members of the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives: Steve Scalise and Cathy McMorris Rodgers. Scalise was badly wounded in a terror attack on the Republican congressional baseball team in 2017. Kennedy said that was key evidence.

"That alone was enough and the nature of the threats, the timing of the threats, one year after, directed to someone who had actually been shot by a disgruntled constituent or citizen of the United States," he said. "I think those factors, combined with some of the other evidence that was adduced at trial."

The Bayon complaint was over the Trump Administration's "zero tolerance" on immigration and the family separations which followed.

"We view this as a very serious matter," said Kennedy. "As I said, this undermines our entire democratic system when individuals try and exert influence on legislation that they may disagree with by threatening members of Congress. That will not be tolerated."

Sentencing is Nov. 21. Bayon faces up to 10 years in prison. He is being held, awaiting sentencing.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.