Ft. Lewis Officer Threatened to Hire Hitman, Blow Up State Capitol: Cops

PHOTO: A military court building at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state is photographed, Sept. 27, 2010.Ted S. Warren/AP Photo
A military court building at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state is photographed, Sept. 27, 2010.

In what is yet another set of disturbing allegations involving a soldier from Washington state's Joint Base Lewis-McChord, an army lieutenant colonel is accused of threatening to hire a hitman to commit murders while also allegedly making threats to blow up the state Capitol.

Lt. Col Robert Underwood, 46, is a decorated soldier with two bronze stars from tours in Iraq and Afghanistan who had just arrived at the base two months ago from a post in Italy.

In the midst of a bitter divorce, police said the army officer threatened to hire a hit man for $150,000 to kill his wife and a fellow officer.

Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), already known for having a troubled and violent history, is also the home base for the American soldier suspected of murdering 16 Afghan civilians -- including women and children -- in an apparently unprovoked killing spree over the weekend in Afghanistan.

READ: Troubled History of American Base

In Underwood's case, court documents revealed his girlfriend told police that in addition to the alleged murder-for-hire scheme, Underwood "was going to do something crazy and it would be on the news -- the world would know about it."

"He made comments that he would do something big and it'd be seen on TV," said Ed Troyer of the Pierce County Sheriff's Deptartment.

That something, according to police, was a threat to blow up the Washington State Capitol in Olympia. Other witnesses reportedly heard him make similar threats. According to court documents, he even mentioned that he would contact the Taliban if he needed to. But despite all the alleged talk, investigators said they have no evidence the officer was actively planning to attack the Capitol building and no explosives or plans have been found.

His superior officer had ordered him to undergo a psychological evaluation, but police said they were told he passed and showed no signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. Even so, police said in the wake of news that at JBLM soldier massacred civilians this week in Afghanistan, they weren't taking any chances.

"This is somebody we thought was dangerous and we wanted to get into custody before anybody got hurt," Troyer said.

Court documents paint a picture of a man falling to pieces in the midst of a bitter divorce and child custody battle.

His girlfriend told detectives she peeked at his laptop and found a picture of the officer's teenage daughter naked while sleeping in bed. And she says she found internet searches for how to get teenagers drunk and have sex with them. Prosecutors write in court filings that "she confronted the defendant about what she found and he told her that her head was on the chopping block."

Underwood has pleaded not guilty to three charges of felony harassment, according to CBS News' Seattle affiliate KIRO7 and is being held on a quarter million dollars bail.

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