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Press Release

Las Cruces Man Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison for Cyberstalking and Sending Threatening Messages

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE – Alexander M.M. Uballez, United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico, and Raul Bujanda, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office, announced today that John Benjamin Thornton was sentenced to 5 years in prison. Thornton, 42, of Las Cruces, pleaded guilty on Dec. 3, 2021, to a nine-count superseding indictment charging him with cyberstalking and making threats in interstate commerce.

According to court records, Thornton had been the subject of complaints since November 2020 by several people who had received disturbing or threatening messages from him, including his ex-wife, his own father, and a business owner and his employees. The charges stemmed from threatening Facebook messages posted between February and May of 2021, text messages sent to his father in May of 2021, and emails sent to the owner and employees of a quantum computing company which Thornton deemed to be evil. In the Facebook posts, text messages and emails Thornton threatened to kill the recipients.

Upon his release from prison, Thornton will be subject to 3 years of supervised release.

The Las Cruces Resident Agency of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office investigated this case. Assistant United States Attorneys Marisa A. Ong and Joni Stahl are prosecuting the case.

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Updated December 15, 2023

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 23-286