VERNON — A New Jersey man repeatedly sent farms and stables in his area messages asking to have sex with their animals, then went after owners' their employees' property when he was rebuffed, police say.

Richard J. Decker is facing several charges alleging harassment and property damage for incidents that police say date back to 2018 and continued through October of this year. Vernon police say in an affidavit that when his requests to "have a sexual relationship with large farm animals, specifically horses and cows" were turned down, his emails became increasingly harassing.

In one email sent this month, police said, he threatened to go to the farm and beat the recipient's wife or girlfriend with a wooden stick, police said.

As Sussex County farms continued to turn Decker town, police said, he began leaving metal spikes on roadways and in their driveways, damaging several vehicles.

And when police executed a search warrant at his home, they found several weapons — a .22-caliber firearm he'd manufactured himself, two arrows with attached explosives, metal spikes, and jars of explosive material including flash powder, ferric oxide and magnesium, police said.

During an interview with police, he admitted to leaving the messages and threatening to harm the farmers, police said. He also allegedly admitted manufacturing all the weapons, dismantling fireworks to create the explosives.

A count by the New Jersey Herald, which sent a reporter to his court appearance, says he's facing 22 indictable offenses and several disorderly persons charges in Lafayette, Vernon, Wantage, Frankford, Andover Township, Franklin and Hardyston.

Judge N. Peter Conforti ordered Decker held pending trial, saying he was "clearly convinced" that Decker should be detained, and he was "not certain" there were any release conditions that could protect the public, according to the Herald report. Under New Jersey's bail reform system, most criminal defendants are released without bail; those a judge determines the defendant poses a risk to the public or is a significant flight risk are held, also without an option for bail.

“He never had contact with anyone directly and the explosives were basically firecrackers,” Decker’s attorney, Daniel Palazzo argued, according to the Herald. “They were stored in jars with no intent to use against anyone.”

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