A Massachusetts man who has already served time in federal prison for trying to hire hitman to kill his father is in trouble with the law again, this time for allegedly threatening a woman.
John C. Platten, 47, of Stoughton, Mass., pleaded not guilty Friday in Springfield District Court to 2 counts of threatening to commit a crime and 2 counts of violating a restraining order.
At a prosecutor’s request, Judge Bruce Melikian ordered Platten held for a hearing next week to determine if he poses too great a threat to the alleged victim or the public to be released on bail. Mass Live reported.
Assistant District Attorney Anna Lusardi requested that the hearing be held on Monday. But lawyer Kelly Auer, who represented Platten for his arraignment, said she doubted defense attorney Jeremy Branson, who is handling Platten’s criminal case, would have enough time to prepare for a Monday hearing.
The judge continued the case to Monday to determine a schedule for the hearing. “I don’t want to delay this any longer than we have to,” Melikian said.
In 2000, John C. Platten was sentenced to eight years in federal prison for trying to hire hitman to kill his father, Charles Platten, of Springfield, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1992.
The younger Platten pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Springfield to conspiracy and hire hitman to commit a murder. The hitman, however, was an undercover agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration, according to prosecutors. They said he was offered $10,000 for the murder.
A lawyer for Platten’s younger brother Jeff, who faced state charges of conspiracy, said John Platten was angry that his father did not post bail when he was held on a cocaine trafficking charge.
New charges were filed last month after a Springfield woman reported receiving threats from Platten, including a warning that she was “gonna be corrected, no way out of it. Just how much it hurts is up to you,” according to a complaint filed by the alleged victim.
Platten also told a mutual friend that he “almost killed (the alleged victim) three days ago and lost my immortal soul,” the complaint said.
Platten was scheduled for arraignment on March 19, but court psychologist Claudia Comes expressed concern about his competency to stand trial, causing the judge to recommended an extended evaluation at Bridgewater State Hospital.
Platten objected, saying he had been “extremely beaten” during a previous stay at Bridgewater. “That’s a trigger spot for me,” he said.
Hospital officials found Platten was competent to stand trial.
Platten on Friday told the judge his condition has improved since he resumed taking medication for bipolar disorder. He expressed regret for his behavior during the period he was not taking his medication and expressed hope that the court will allow him to have contact with his children in the future.
Under a restraining order issued last month, Platten is barred from having contact with his wife. On Friday, at his wife’s request, the judge extended the order to include phone calls to Platten’s children, too.