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Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014

Man who took hostage at FBI office pleads guilty but mentally ill

By Emiley Morgan, Deseret News

Published: Tue, Aug. 12 7:00 p.m. MDT

 Robert Hibbard, 41, was charged Wednesday with aggravated kidnapping after police say he took a man hostage at knifepoint inside a downtown Salt Lake office building that is also the headquarters for the FBI in Utah. Investigators say he had been angry over how a separate case involving the death of his ex-wife had been prosecuted.

Robert Hibbard, 41, was charged Wednesday with aggravated kidnapping after police say he took a man hostage at knifepoint inside a downtown Salt Lake office building that is also the headquarters for the FBI in Utah. Investigators say he had been angry over how a separate case involving the death of his ex-wife had been prosecuted.

(Salt Lake County Jail)

SALT LAKE CITY — A man charged with kidnapping after holding a hostage at knife point in the building that houses the FBI's Utah headquarters has entered a guilty plea.

Robert Joseph Hibbard, 43, pleaded guilty but mentally ill to a single count of kidnapping Monday in 3rd District Court. The charge was reduced to a second-degree felony from a first-degree felony as part of a plea agreement that acknowledged Hibbard was mentally ill at the time of the offense.

In charging documents, prosecutors have said the man's actions on Sept. 12, 2012, were tied to the death of his ex-wife a year before the kidnapping and that he entered the 257 Tower office building, 257 E. 200 South, looking for a forensic psychiatrist.

Rashell Langford, 33, died Sept. 5, 2011, after she and her husband, Shawn Langford, apparently made a suicide pact. The Bluffdale couple was high on bath salts and under the influence of alcohol when Shawn Langford handed his wife a rifle and she shot and killed herself.

The blast apparently startled the man to the point that he didn't go through with his intended suicide. But Hibbard believed his ex-wife's new husband should have been charged with murder.

He went to the building where the FBI is located, took an elevator to the sixth floor and was asked to leave by a man who said Hibbard seemed agitated. Hibbard grabbed the man from behind and placed an object to his back.

Hibbard told the man it was a gun, but it was later found to be a knife.

Hibbard then placed the man in a headlock, told him he needed a forensic psychiatrist and ordered him to take him to the 12th floor, where the FBI offices are located. Once they arrived, he let the man go, handed him the knife and was taken into custody by an FBI agent.

Sentencing in the case was set for Oct. 20.

Email: emorgan@deseretnews.com, Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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