By Steve White email@example.com
A hatchet-wielding former solider finds himself behind bars. Police used less than lethal force to stop him, but he may have had lethal intentions inspired by last week's Colorado movie theater shooting.
Stephen and Maile Stangler were confronted on their front lawn early Sunday morning. They wanted to cut ties with a former friend, but he apparently want to cut them up.
Stephen Stangler said, "He got out of the car with a hatchet and didn't say anything, started chasing me."
It took several police several tries to subdue the suspect, identified as Stephen Cavanaugh, who was nearly shot by police.
Officer Butch Hurst said, "Officers went into deadly force situation but another officer went to a less lethal option and Mr. Cavanaugh was tased and taken into custody."
Stephen Stangler paints the picture of former friend infatuated with his wife so much that he'd move cross country.
"Worst of all is he's a fellow solider." Stangler said. "Him and I served together at a post in Fort Irwin, California."
They had quickly become friends, but had a falling out. Maile says she now feels violated, saying Cavanaugh posted private photos in online personal ads in an attempt to embarrass the young Grand Island couple. Maile says the photos were meant for Stephen while deployed in Afghanistan, but somehow they were shared on the web.
Maile said, "It's terrible. Every time I walk out my front door my head's between my legs, my head's down, I try not to look at anybody. It's terrible."
Both Stephens -- Stangler and Cavanaugh took out protection orders against each other. But it was Cavanaugh who apparently escalated the tension.
"He said numerous he will kill me," Stephen Stangler said of Cavanaugh.
Prosecutors say Cavanaugh took inspiration from the Colorado theater shooting, in a post online in support of the shooter.
Deputy Hall County Attorney Jon Hendricks quoted a Facebook post in the courtroom.
It read, "James Holmes, I support you. I plan on doing something similar too... on a smaller scale... I plan to pop some cops."
The attempted assault with the hatchet resulted in a half-million dollar bond and four felony
counts in court.
Hendricks, the prosecutor said those threats related to the Colorado shooting give some insight into the level of danger.
Cavanaugh said little in court, only answering questions from the judge. He appeared on video from the Hall County Jail.
Asked if he would hire an attorney, he said, "I don't have any money... before all of this I was working at Subway."
He said he was staying at a motel but was not paid up. The public defender was appointed to represent him. His next court date was set for September 18 at 2:30 p.m.