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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Connecticut

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 16, 2020

Torrington Man Charged with Threatening to Kill California Congressman

John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and David Sundberg, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, today announced that ROBERT M. PHELPS, 62, of Torrington, has been charged by federal criminal complaint with threatening to murder U.S. Representative Adam Schiff of California.

Phelps was arrested on March 13.  Following his arrest, he appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge William I. Garfinkel in Bridgeport and was released on a $25,000 bond.

As alleged in court documents and statements made in court, on November 12, 2019, the office of U.S. Representative Adam Schiff received a threatening communication through a Meeting Request entry form on Congressman Schiff’s official website.  The meeting request included the statement “…I want to kill you with my bare hands and smash your…face in.”  In addition, in response to the preferred days of the week for the meeting request, Phelps wrote “Measure your Coffin day.”

It is further alleged that, on December 4, 2019, investigators interviewed Phelps at his Torrington residence and confirmed that Phelps sent the threatening communication.

The complaint charges Phelps with threatening to assault and murder a U.S. official, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years, and with making interstate threats, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years.

U.S. Attorney Durham stressed that a complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt.  Charges are only allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas P. Morabito.

Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Component(s): 
Updated March 16, 2020