Washington Man Charged with Sending Death Threats
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a one-count indictment today against Scott Anthony Orton, 57, of Puyallup, Washington, charging him with transmitting interstate threats, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
According to court documents, Orton posted several threatening statements on a popular news website in which he expressed his intent to travel to Placerville, California to kill the target of the threats who was an officer of StemExpress.
According to the indictment, on July 16, 2015, among other threats, Orton wrote, “The management of StemExpress should be taken by force and killed in the streets today. Kill StemExpress employees. I'll pay you for it.”
“Terrorizing others through threats of violence, whether communicated in person or through media websites, is cruel, dangerous and disruptive, and is also a federal crime,” said U.S. Attorney Wagner. “Those who seek to terrorize others online should not assume that they will be protected by the anonymity of the Internet. We will identify and prosecute them.”
“The FBI will identify and investigate threats and those who solicit violence on the Internet,” said Special Agent in Charge Monica M. Miller of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Sacramento field office. “While we all have a right to state our opinions, anonymously terrorizing others with threats of significant harm will not be tolerated.”
This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Brian A. Fogerty is prosecuting the case.
Orton is scheduled to be arraigned before United States Magistrate Judge Kendall J. Newman on December 29, 2015, at 2:00 p.m.
If convicted, Orton faces a maximum statutory penalty of 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.