Man who made phone threats to Newtown residents gets prison

AP News
|
Posted: Feb 12, 2015 3:02 PM

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A Venezuelan man was sentenced Thursday to a year in prison for making threatening phone calls to Newtown residents in the days following the 2012 shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Wilfrido Cardenas Hoffmann pleaded guilty in December, admitting he made the calls from his home in Venezuela after watching TV news coverage of the massacre.

Cardenas was sentenced in Hartford federal court to a year and a day in prison by Judge Michael Shea. The New Haven Register reported that Shea told the defendant he had "intentionally victimized a community that had been traumatized by a mass shooting."

Cardenas, who has been taking anti-psychotic medication while in custody, asked for a sentence of time served in light of a need for medical treatment for schizophrenia. Prosecutors did not make a recommendation on an appropriate sentence.

On Dec. 14, 2012, Adam Lanza fatally shot his mother and gunned down 20 first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook before killing himself.

In the following days, Cardenas looked up Newtown phone numbers on the Internet and made dozens of calls. Authorities said that in a few calls, Cardenas claimed to be the shooter and threatened to kill the person he called.

"This is Adam Lanza. I'm gonna (expletive) kill you. You're dead. You're dead. You hear me? You're dead," the caller said, according to authorities.

A 15-year-old high school student who answered one of the calls described Cardenas as "creepy" and said she was terrified by the threats.

An arrest warrant was issued in May 2013 following an investigation that prosecutors said was complicated by the defendant's efforts to hide his identity. He was arrested in June as he passed through Miami International Airport on his way from Venezuela to Mexico.