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Cleveland County man who made bomb threat in DC could face life in prison

Floyd Ray Roseberry faces two federal charges after allegedly threatening to blow up his own pickup truck near the Library of Congress.

WASHINGTON — The nation's capital saw an hours-long response to a bomb threat for part of the day on Thursday, Aug. 19. At the center of the threat was 49-year-old Floyd Ray Roseberry from Grover, North Carolina, which is about 40 miles west of Charlotte. 

Roseberry made his first court appearance on Friday, where a judge listed two preliminary charges against him, which included threatening to use a weapon of mass destruction and threatening to use or attempting to use an explosive device.

If Roseberry is convicted on at least one of two preliminary charges against him, he could spend the rest of his life in federal prison.

Roseberry reportedly drove his own pickup truck from North Carolina up to Washington and eventually parked on a sidewalk outside of the Library of Congress. Roseberry threatening to detonate explosives that were supposedly in his truck on Facebook live streams and reportedly to passersby.

RELATED: Cleveland County man arrested for making Capitol bomb threat

The standoff between Roseberry and law enforcement lasted from morning until afternoon and ended with Roseberry surrendering and did not result in any injuries. 

After his apprehension, the Cleveland County Sheriff's Office and the FBI divulged more about his background. He didn't have a federal criminal record, but he did have relatively minimal encounters with deputies in the 1980s and 1990s.

TIMELINE: Breaking down how the DC bomb threat played out

Roseberry appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Zia M. Faruqui on Friday afternoon. Roseberry reportedly appeared confused about what day it was, claiming he had memory issues without his "mind medicine." He told the judge that he wasn't aware of what medication he took, saying his wife controlled it.

Faruqui ended the hearing early after determining Roseberry likely couldn't fully comprehend what was going on but not before having the court clerk read out the preliminary charges Roseberry was facing.

RELATED: What we know about Floyd Ray Roseberry, the Washington DC bomb threat suspect

WCNC Charlotte referred to the Cornell Law School's online database known as the Legal Information Institute, which has provided open access to information about laws at the state and federal levels since 1992. Both of the charges fall under Title 18 in the U.S. Code, which covers federal-level crimes.

The less serious of these charges is the second one listed above: threatening to use or attempting to use an explosive device. Section 844(e) says anyone who makes a threat to use an explosive device via phone, mail, or another method to try and hurt or kill others or damage property can face up to 10 years in federal prison if convicted.

However, the more serious of the two charges is what could land Roseberry serving a life sentence: Threatening to use a weapon of mass destruction. Section 2332a covers such crimes, and he specifically could face charges as a U.S. citizen making the threat against any person or property within the country while using something that could be used in interstate commerce (in this case, threatening to blow up his own pickup truck). If he is convicted on this charge, the maximum possible sentence is life in federal prison. However, he could also face any possible prison term of years.

WCNC Charlotte obtained a copy of the affidavit filed against Roseberry by the FBI, which further details the allegations against him, including excerpts of the Facebook live streams Roseberry broadcasted on his personal account. To note, a passage in the affidavit also says someone had called Cleveland County deputies the day before, on Aug. 18, to report Roseberry had discussed anti-government views and planned to travel to Virginia or Washington to commit violent crimes. That person also said Roseberry told them he had ordered a trench coat to protect him from pepper ball guns and Tasers, and Roseberry allegedly claimed to this person he "would just tip his cowboy hat at the police".

(Warning: This affidavit contains graphic language. Read at your own discretion)

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WUSA9 in Washington reported Roseberry will face a mental competency screening before standing trial and will be back in a courtroom by Wednesday, Aug. 25 at the latest.