Ryan Scott Connell MUG

Ryan Scott Connell

Another month will have to pass before Ryan Scott Connell shows in court for sentencing on probation-violation charges stemming from threats to two local schools made by the Floral City man.

Connell, 34, was due to appear Wednesday morning before Circuit Court Judge Richard “Ric” Howard, but the State Attorney’s Office filed a motion Monday to postpone the hearing until Oct. 23, which Howard granted, according to court records.

According to her motion to continue the case, Assistant State Attorney Nicole Morris said she’s yet to receive a copy of a doctor’s report the Public Defender’s Office got Monday that documents Connell’s mental health and competency.

Along with needing time to review the psychologist’s observations on Connell, Morris is planning for the prosecutor's office to hire its own doctor to give a second opinion, her motion states.

Connell remains jailed at the Citrus County Detention Center without a bond.

He faces up to five years in prison for violating the conditions of his probation that stems from Connell head butting a corrections officer in July 2017.

Connell has been in custody since his July 31 arrest, after he tested positive for drug use in Mental Health Court and subsequently broke the window of a courthouse holding cell, which also resulted in Connell being charged with criminal mischief in a separate case.

As Citrus County Sheriff’s Office deputies were taking him to the jail, Connell made several comments in front of authorities that he’d shoot and kill students at Inverness Primary and Citrus High schools, according to reports.

Connell also made separate and similar statements to a jail psychologist and to his father in a pair of recorded jail phone calls, which prosecutors plan to share with Howard at Connell's sentencing.

The State Attorney’s Office announced on Aug. 15 it couldn’t prosecute Connell for his purported statements because they don’t meet the statutory criteria needed to pursue a charge of “writing threats to do harm or kill.”

State legislators, county school and sheriff’s officials said they’ve been working to amend laws so that verbal threats can be prosecuted.

Howard first placed Connell on probation in October 2017 for his attack earlier that year against the jail guard, but Connell violated those terms in February 2018, resulting in Howard referring Connell to Mental Health Court that March, court records show.

Contact Chronicle reporter Buster Thompson at 352-564-2916 or bthompson@chronicleonline.com.

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