OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Out of 800 vulgar voice messages believed left by Kentucky fans at the office of referee John Higgins, after UK's loss to North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament, seven are classified as a threat.
FILE - In this March 26, 2017, file photo, Kentucky head coach John Calipari argues a call with referee John Higgins in the first half of the South Regional final game against North Carolina in the NCAA college basketball tournament in Memphis, Tenn. Referee John Higgins of Omaha has contacted law enforcement to report he’s received death threats after Kentucky’s loss to North Carolina in the NCAA South Regional final. A person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press that Higgins reported threats on his home phone, which has an unlisted number, and on the office phone for his roofing company. The person requested anonymity because the investigation is ongoing. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)
Sarpy County Sheriffs Detective Matt Barrall spent 80 hours reading posts and listening to voice messages, selecting the seven that might be considered a crime.
Detective Barrall tells WOWT, "There was some sort claim of violence, whether it be they wished him dead or wished him injured."
Laced with obscenities, the seven voice messages need extensive editing but clearly seek harm on referee John Higgins.
The threatening messages said:
#1 - "You should put a gun in your mouth and blow your won fricking brains out."
#2 - "If I ever see you in person I'm going to smack the taste out of your fricking mouth."
#3 - "You're going to pay buddy."
#4 - "You enjoy your life before somebody kills you."
#5 - "Hey you hear that garbage truck in the background? Wish you were in it personally you **."
#6 - "I hope the hell John Higgins falls off a roof and spends the rest of his life in a wheelchair."
#7 - "I hope you all get in a plane crash and die."
The detective has burned copies of voice messages onto disks that he feels rise to the level of a threat. He's put each one along with a transcript and his report in the mail to be sent of to the jurisdictions where the calls originated.
Detective Barrall said, "We feel [this] necessitates a face to face conversation with the person who holds that cell phone or phone number."
John Higgins tells WOWT he wants to thank detective Matt Barrall for all the work he's done, on this case. Higgins called the barrage of threatening calls a difficult and frightening time for his employees and family.