Man Arrested for Death Threats to Senator
President Obama has been quoted as saying he would like to put civility back into American political life. At this point in time, it might be like putting the genie back in the bottle, because the harshness evidenced during the healthcare debate has morphed into something even more ugly and dangerous. On April 5, it was reported that Charles Alan Wilson was arrested and charged by federal prosecutors for threatening to kill Washington Senator Patty Murray for her stance on healthcare.
According to NBC News, the FBI was alerted late in March by Murray's office staff when the rather garden-variety obscenity laced rants from Wilson on the Senator's office phone became specific threats. Court documents quote at least one threat, "I hope you realize, there's a target on your back now. There are many people out there who want you dead. ... Kill the ****ing senator. I'll donate the lead."
NBC reports the federal investigation lead to Wilson's number after a check of office phone records was matched against the times the voicemails were received. To be certain they had the correct man, the FBI had an agent posing as a member of a fictitious anti-healthcare group call Wilson. After speaking with him for 14 minutes and hearing his "hate" for the new law and his dislike for "sneaker shoes Murray," the FBI charged the ludicrous but dangerous Wilson with threatening a federal official, a felony carrying a maximum penalty of ten years in prison.
Wilson was not only armed with his extreme views. The defendant, 64, has a handgun registered to him and a valid concealed weapons permit.
Senator Murray is not the only lawmaker threatened in recent months. NBC News also reports a man who posted a Web video to announce his intention to kill Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., was arrested on March 29. Showing no rhyme or reason, Cantor, a House Republican leader, opposed the health care bill.
- Man charged with threatening Wash. senator (NBC News, MSNBC)
- Grudges Against Judges Leading to More Threats These Days (FindLaw's Courtside)
- Threats (FindLaw's LawBrain)
- Steps in the Federal Criminal Process (provided by Joyce & Bittner)