A Florida man has been sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to threatening United States President Barack Obama over Twitter.
Donte Jamar Sims, 22, will serve six months in prison plus one
year of supervised release for tweets he published last year. He
pleaded guilty to threatening the president’s life last October
and was sentenced in a Charlotte, North Carolina courtroom on
Authorities obtained a search warrant for user records pertaining
to the Twitter account “DestroyLeague_D” last year after becoming
aware of at least five tweets that discussed plotting to kill the
president in advance of Mr. Obama’s address at the 2012
Democratic National Convention in September. They were able to
link the social media account to Sims, who went on to plead
guilty to one count of knowingly and willfully making a threat to
take the life of the president.
“Plotting president Obama‘s Murder,” “Ima Assassinate president Obama this evening!” and “The Secret Service is gonna be
defenseless once I aim the Assault Rifle at Barack’s Forehead”
were three of the micromessages that raised the suspicion of
Sims told investigators that he had been smoking marijuana when
he made the remarks over Twitter.
“Sims stated that he published the statements because he hated
President Obama,” a Secret Service agent wrote in an
affidavit last year. “Sims asserted that he was high on marijuana when he made the threats but that he understood what he
was doing and that it was wrong.”
“He asserted that he was sorry he sent the messages
threatening to kill the president of the United States and
provided me with a written apology,” wrote the agent.
According to the Charlotte Observer, Sims entered his guilty plea
in October in hopes of avoiding a prison sentence. Citing the
seriousness of the crime, however, a federal judge decided
ultimately that a six-month stint behind bars was warranted.
Chief US District Judge Robert Conrad said “the seriousness of
the offense and the need for the sentence to promote a respect
for the law” prompted him to order the sentence, the paper
Sims faced a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Obama arrived in Charlotte days after Sims’ tweets were published
and accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination to run for a
second term. He defeated Republican challenger Mitt Romney in