Woman gets 5 mos. for sending death threats to Sandy Hook dad

Sun Sentinel
Published: 6/7/2017 10:32:22 PM

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — After admitting that she sent death threats to a Palm Beach County man whose 6-year-old son was murdered in the Sandy Hook school mass shooting, Lucy Richards apologized to the victims on Wednesday.

She also acknowledged that the tragic incident was not a hoax.

“I don’t know where my head and my heart were that day when I made the calls but they were not in the right place,” Richards said, speaking in a meek voice, before she was sentenced in federal court in Fort Lauderdale.

The judge sentenced her to five months in federal prison, followed by five months of house arrest with electronic monitoring and three years of supervised release.

Though Richards has a documented history of mental health problems, Senior U.S. District Judge James Cohn told her he did not believe they were a major factor in her decision to commit the crime.

He gave her a stern lecture and said that “hatred and bigotry appeared to have at least some bearing” when she targeted the grieving parent of a murdered child.

“Your words were cruel and insensitive,” the judge told Richards. “Your words ... do have consequences. Words do matter. This is reality. There is no fiction (here) and there are no alternative facts.”

The judge ordered Richards to continue to receive mental health treatment and banned her from visiting several websites that promote conspiracy theories that falsely claim the Sandy Hook and other mass shootings never happened. He also banned her from possessing guns or weapons.

Richards, 57, of Brandon, was part of a group of people who insist that some mass shootings are part of a government conspiracy to take away gun rights, the judge said.

Using a wheelchair in court and dressed in brown jail scrubs, Richards apologized for sending four threatening voicemail and email messages to Lenny Pozner, of Boca Raton. Pozner’s son, Noah, was killed in the 2012 mass shooting in Connecticut.

In her apology, Richards said she was “truly sorry” and mentioned Noah and both of his parents by name: “I will never make any inappropriate calls ever again.”

Cohn told her he didn’t understand why she had sent the threats.

“Unfortunately for Leonard Pozner, his loss is all too real,” the judge told Richards. “I am sure he wishes this was fake and he could embrace Noah, feel Noah’s heartbeat and hear Noah say ‘I love you, Dad.’ All too real, Mr. Pozner is left with shattered dreams and a broken heart that will never mend.”

Richards has been jailed for the past 2 1/2 months after admitting she violated the terms of her release on bond by not showing up for a prior court hearing in late March. Her bond was revoked and she was arrested near her home in the Tampa area a few days later, on April 1.

Richards, a former waitress who is receiving Social Security disability payments, told investigators she was angry and sent the death threats to Pozner after reading up on the conspiracy theories online.

The judge imposed a more severe punishment than the one recommended by Berube and Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Gilbert. They had jointly suggested a punishment of five months of house arrest, followed by 2 1/2 years of supervised release. The maximum possible penalty was five years in prison and sentencing guidelines recommended 10 to 16 months in prison.


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