BOZEMAN – A Bozeman man arrested four times since January appeared in Gallatin County Justice Court Thursday on a felony charge of failing to register as a violent offender.
According to court documents, 70-year-old Joe Sylvester Ryals is required to register as a violent offender in Montana due to two 1996 convictions in Florida. Given his status as a transient living within Bozeman city limits, Ryals is further required to register every 30 days.
Court documents also state that Ryals was arrested in April 2017 for threatening a group of juveniles with what was discovered to be a replica handgun and has been arrested four times since Jan. 18, most recently on Feb. 16.
In the April arrest, two boys reported to police officers that they were exploring a tunnel that goes under East Main Street at Lindley Park when they were confronted by Ryals holding a handgun in a holster. The man yelled at the boys to get out of the tunnel and pointed the gun at one of the boys. When questioned by officers, Ryals admitted to having a handgun in his possession, a black BB gun in a black nylon holster.
During the most recent arrests, Ryals allegedly made comments indicating he is going to force officers to kill him within the next month.
Ryals reportedly had not registered as a violent offender since Jan. 3 and was located and cited at the Gallatin County Detention Center.
Judge Rick West set his bail at $25,000, citing a threat to public safety given Ryals’s recent arrests and alleged comments.