A Jackson contractor who threatened a town employee Tuesday faces a felony charge of terroristic threatening and a misdemeanor charge of disruptive conduct within governmental facilities.

Paul Rivers, 67, a longtime resident and contractor, walked into the Jackson Police Department just after 10 a.m. Tuesday and said, “You better get a cop up to the planning department because someone is about to die,” according to Lt. Roger Schultz. The planning department is just upstairs from the police department in Town Hall.

Officers detained Rivers almost immediately, after which he admitted to making the threat and was arrested.

Rivers, who is in custody in the Teton County Jail, appeared via Skype for his arraignment Wednesday. Circuit Court Judge James Radda scheduled his preliminary hearing for 10:15 a.m. on Dec. 12 and set bail at $5,000.

“Paul Rivers is a longtime resident of the valley, over 40 years,” said his attorney, Bill Fix. “He owns a home and runs a business. ... I don’t believe him to be a flight risk in the slightest.”

Among the other conditions of his bail, Rivers must not enter Town Hall or contact the town employee he allegedly threatened.

Fix said the incident “arises out of a dispute over an ongoing construction project,” which means Rivers’ company will need to continue working with town officials. But Fix said Rivers will be absent at inspections and that his employees can attend any necessary meetings at Town Hall on his behalf.

The maximum penalty for the felony charge is three years in jail and a fine of $10,000, and for the misdemeanor charge 60 days in jail and a fine of $750.

Contact Cody Cottier at 732-5911 or town@jhnewsandguide.com.

Cody Cottier covers town and state government. He grew up with a view of the Olympic Mountains, and after graduating Washington State University he traded it for a view of the Tetons. Odds are the mountains are where you’ll find him when not on deadline.

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