DES MOINES MAN SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR INTERNET THREATS OF VIOLENCE AND POSSESSING A FIREARM DURING THREATS OF VIOLENCE
Made Multiple Threats to Boeing Company and Anacortes Oil Refinery
GINO AUGUSTUS TURRELLA, 47, of Des Moines, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 7 years in prison, 5 years of supervised release and $231,100 in restitution for 19 felony counts regarding threats he made against the Boeing Company, Shell Oil and Chevron Oil Company. TURRELLA was convicted November 6, 2009, following a four day jury trial in front of U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour. TURRELLA was convicted of making Interstate Communications with Threat to Injure Person, making Threat by Instrument of Interstate Commerce, Possessing a Firearm during Threats of Violence, and Identity Theft. At sentencing Judge Coughenour ordered TURRELLA to forfeit his extensive arsenal of weapons to the government.
TURRELLA was arrested on August 26, 2008, in the parking lot of the REI store in Tukwilla, Washington. In a search of his home, law enforcement recovered more than 100 firearms. According to records in the case and testimony at trial, TURRELLA sent threats via e-mail and through the internet, on nine occasions between the dates of May 2, 2008, and May 30, 2008. In making the threats, TURRELLA posed as other real people, and used e-mail addresses that he had opened under the names of those individuals. In the e-mails that he transmitted to Boeing, TURRELLA stated variously that he was going to bring a gun into a Boeing facility and “shoot ever [sic] employee I see,” and also that he would “strap himself with explosives and detonate” them if and when he was apprehended, in order to cause “maximum death and destruction in the workplace!” In an e-mail he posted to the Anacortes oil refinery website, and to the Richmond, CA Chevron Oil refinery website, he stated that “a bomb was placed at a strategic location at the oil refinery” and that he was “going to set if off via remote control” so that it “will kill the most of your employees and do the most destruction to your refinery.”
In making the threats to the Boeing Company TURRELLA posed as one of his former managers at the Boeing Company. TURRELLA was angry at the manager because he had authorized disciplinary action against him. In making the threats to the Shell and Chevron Oil refineries, TURRELLA posed as a different person – former co-worker at another company that TURRELLA disliked. In both cases, TURRELLA apparently hoped that the people who he impersonated when making the threats would suffer repercussions – either in their jobs or even perhaps in the form of criminal investigation – because of them. Prosecutors were able to show that TURRELLA’s laptop contained evidence linking him to the e-mail accounts used to send the threats, and that the laptop had been logged on to the wireless networks at the King County Library or Highline Community College when the threatening communications were transmitted.
In their sentencing memo, prosecutors noted that TURRELLA had a history of making threats. In 1992 he was investigated for jamming HAM radio frequencies and was fined $10,000. His response was to make threats over HAM radio. In 1997, he disrupted the U.S. Coast Guard emergency broadcast channel, and made threats when he was informed of the possibility of federal prosecution. In 2001, TURRELLA sent threats via mail and email to the Army National Guard.
Asking for a significant sentence, prosecutors wrote to the court: “In short, Turrella has persisted, for years, in deviously exploiting his knowledge of successive technologies to terrorize others. He has done so, relentlessly, despite the fact that he was explicitly warned that he would be federally prosecuted if he persisted.”
The case was investigated by the FBI, the Auburn Police Department, and the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Kathryn Warma and Aravind Swaminathan.
For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110 or firstname.lastname@example.org.