A former prosecutor has been charged with a felony threat for posting messages directed at his former employer, Commonwealth's Attorney Greg Underwood, on Facebook.
Clifton C. Hicks, a former assistant commonwealth's attorney in Norfolk, was charged Thursday with one count of posting a written threat to kill or do bodily injury to another on his personal account, court records state. Hicks, 41, was granted a $20,000 bond and released, records say.
According to an affidavit for a search warrant, one of the Facebook messages on Hicks' page contained a threat to assault Underwood. "Underwood spoke with Norfolk investigators and indicated he took the threat to be serious," the warrant says.
Investigators recovered a laptop and an iPhone, the warrant says.
The Facebook posts written on Hicks' page, confirmed by his mother and friends, say he is "tired of being intimidated." One post mentions "Brent and Greg" and says, "I will kick your" rear end.
Prosecutors believe the post refers to Underwood and his chief deputy, Brent A. Johnson.
The office learned of the postings Wednesday afternoon, said Amanda Howie, spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office. Hicks joined the Norfolk Commonwealth's Attorney's Office in January 2001 and left in April 2010, she said.
Hicks' mother, Judy Brooks, said her son graduated from Regent University Law School and joined the Norfolk office. Hicks has not had regular work since he left the office, she said. He taught law part-time at Bryant & Stratton, she said.
Brooks said her son should not have been writing the posts.
"He was under the impression it was allowed for free speech," said Brooks, who lives across the street from Hicks.
Howie said a special prosecutor will handle the case because Hicks is a former employee.
Hicks' father, Robert L. Hicks, who died in 2002, served on the Norfolk School Board. The younger Hicks has been active in civic leagues and considered running for the Virginia House of Delegates.
Hicks is scheduled to appear again in court next week.
Louis Hansen, 757-446-2341,firstname.lastname@example.org