A Detroit man has been charged on allegations he left a voicemail with his Clinton Township-based attorney threatening to kill people of Arabic descent, according to the Michigan Attorney General’s Office press statement.
Walter Purvis, 53, was arraigned Monday on a charge of false report or threat of terrorism in 41B District Court in Clinton Township and remains in held in the Macomb County Jail in lieu of a $500,000 bond.
Purvis was unhappy with the resolution of a criminal matter in which he pleaded guilty to one count of trespassing in an incident last May at a Southfield gas station and had placed multiple calls expressing this dissatisfaction to the attorney who had represented him before leaving the alleged threatening voicemail, according to state officials.
In the voicemail, Purvis describes a grievance with “Arabs” arising out of his criminal case and threatened to assassinate them, officials said.
“This was a serious, racially biased threat of violence left on the voicemail of someone who, as an attorney, had no choice but to report the potential threat,” Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a press release. “My department takes threats such as these incredibly seriously, both in our advocacy with the legislature to strengthen Michigan’s hate crimes protections and in prosecuting these intentionally terrifying threats to the fullest extent of the available laws.”
For the Southfield incident, Purvis was charged with the misdemeanors of disturbing the peace and trespassing. In September, he pleaded no contest in 46th District Court to trespassing and the second charge was dismissed. He received a probationary sentence and faces a Jan. 23 court hearing in the case.
In the new case, Purvis was charged as a habitual fourth offender, which increases the maximum penalty from 20 years to life, officials said.
If he posts bond, he will remain on house arrest and will have to wear a GPS tether.
Purvis will next appear for a Dec. 18 probable cause conference in front of Judge Carrie Fuca.