Man who threatened Patty Murray is sentenced to year in prison
A Yakima County man who admitted leaving threatening phone messages for Sen. Patty Murray was sentenced Friday to a year and a day in prison.
Seattle Times staff reporter
A Yakima County man who admitted leaving threatening phone calls to Sen. Patty Murray was sentenced Friday to a year and a day in prison.
Federal prosecutors in Seattle had asked the judge to sentence Charles Alan Wilson, 64, of Selah, to the year-and-a-day term after he pleaded guilty in June to a charge of threatening a federal official. His defense attorney, arguing that the behavior was "totally aberrant" for Wilson, sought a one-day sentence.
Wilson pleaded guilty to making threats against the senator in June. He said he never intended to harm the senator, and his lawyer said in sentencing documents that he's so ashamed of himself that he refuses to drive through town because someone might recognize him.
Wilson was arrested at his Selah home in April after staffers in Murray's downtown Seattle office had become concerned over profanity-laced phone calls left on the answering machine by an unknown man. The calls came from a blocked number and often were made at night or on weekends.
Usually, according to a staffer, the calls were merely vulgar and harassing.
But on March 22, "the caller began to make overt threats to kill and/or injure Senator Murray," according to the charges filed by the FBI.
In that Wilson stated: "I hope you realize there's a target on your back now ... Kill the [expletive] senator! I'll donate the lead."
In several similarly vulgar and profane messages left over the next week, the caller repeatedly threatened the Democratic senator's life and said he "hopes somebody kills" President Obama as well, according to portions of transcripts in the complaint.
"The government views Wilson's offense as an extremely serious one," Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Greenberg wrote in the government's sentencing memorandum. "The very survival of our representative democracy rests on the ability of our elected officials to execute the duties of their offices, and to run for election, without fearing the sort or reprisal — death and acts of violence — threatened by the defendant in this case."
The fact that Wilson never intended to carry out the threats made no difference, Greenberg said, because the staffers in Murray's office had no way of knowing that.
The target of Wilson's anger was Murray's support of the Healthcare Reform Act, and Greenberg said Wilson was entitled to his opinion.
"How he chose to express those views was unlawful," he said.
Defense attorney Paula Deutsch wrote that Wilson had been a hardworking single parent all of his life, and had raised three boys. He had lived in the same home all of his 64 years, she wrote, and had turned to drinking after losing his job of 13 years in 2003 after testing positive for using marijuana.
Mike Carter: 206-464-3706 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Information from Seattle Times archives and The Associated Press is included in this report.
When vice president of Sub Pop Records Megan Jasper isn't running things at the office, she's working in her garden at her West Seattle home where she and her husband Brian spend time relaxing.