A man calmly pleaded not guilty Tuesday after being charged with crimes related to him allegedly acting out in court by swearing and threatening to murder a prosecutor and set fire to a courthouse. 

Steven Shane McCann, 36, pleaded not guilty at the federal court in Rapid City to one count of threatening to murder a federal law enforcement officer — Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Kelderman — and two counts of contempt.

If convicted, McCann could be sentenced up to 10 years in prison for the threatening charge and up to life for the contempt charges, said Nicole Romine, a prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Wyoming, which is handling the case after the U.S. Attorney's Office in South Dakota recused itself since their colleague is involved.

It was McCann's first time appearing for his new charges at the Rapid City court after previously facing a federal judge in Colorado, where he was arrested. Judge Daneta Wollman said she would stick with the Colorado judge's ruling that there is probable cause for the charge and that McCann should be detained while awaiting trial. 

Jamy Patterson, McCann's defense lawyer, said she would file a motion asking for McCann to be released from the Pennington County Jail, and if that was denied, for him to be transferred to the jail in Winner, where he would prefer to stay. She did not explain why her client wants to be in the Winner jail. 

Wollmann said it's up to U.S. marshals to decide where to detain defendants, and she would only intervene if there was a serious reason to transfer him. 

McCann is accused of threatening to kill Kelderman in December 2018 when he was being sentenced for violating a condition of his supervised release after he was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm, court records show. He's also accused of yelling and cursing in front of Judge Karen Schreier and saying, "When I get out, I'm going to burn this place to the ground" as he was escorted out of the courtroom. 

Kelderman represented the government during the sentencing hearing and has been involved in other cases with McCann, according to an arrest warrant affidavit written by an FBI agent. "McCann became increasingly agitated with the proceedings" and courtroom audio shows that he cussed multiple times and threatened to burn the courthouse as a deputy U.S. marshal escorted him out of the room, the document says. 

Once McCann was in a holding area with the marshal, the affidavit says, he said he was going to shoot Kelderman's mother in the head. The marshal made a field report about the comment and later told the FBI agent about it.

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— Contact Arielle Zionts at arielle.zionts@rapidcityjournal.com

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