Threat brings one year in jail

A Redwood City man convicted of brandishing a knife and threatening to kill a San Mateo County social worker was sentenced Friday to one year in jail by a judge who called him a dangerous man with a troubling history of violence.

John Linehan Arbogast, 36, was also sentenced to three years’ probation by Superior Court Judge Clifford Cretan. Arbogast is forbidden to possess guns or drink alcohol and must submit to drug testing.

Prosecutors say the social worker came to Arbogast’s home Jan. 8 to retrieve belongings from a former boarder. While the man was speaking with Arbogast’s wife, Arbogast reportedly began an angry tirade that ended with approaching the social worker and raising a knife above his head while threatening to kill him, chop him up and put him in a box.

Arbogast’s wife stepped between the men, and the social worker ran away, prosecutors said. On March 14, Arbogast pleaded no contest to felony criminal threats in a plea deal that ensured he would not face state prison time.

Arbogast’s attorney, Gerritt Rutgers, urged the court Friday to sentence his client to no more than six months in the county jail.

“He did threaten the victim and was holding a knife at the time, but he was standing behind his wife and behind a screen door. Mr. Arbogast stayed inside the house the whole time,” Rutgers said.

Deputy District Attorney Brian Donnellan, however, called Arbogast “a clear and present danger to the community” based on his past record of misdemeanor violence cases.  According to the District Attorney’s Office, Arbogast was convicted of a battery in 1992, of stabbing a family member in the back in 1993 and of domestic violence charges in 1997 and 2002.

In a letter to the judge, Arbogast said he takes responsibility for threatening the social worker, but said the man provoked him by failing to call first and by being pushy. Arbogast also said he had simply been sharpening his knife at the time.

tbarak@examiner.com

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