In a little-noticed development, a 28-year-old gay man arrested last June at his home in Alexandria, Va., for allegedly making threats to shoot at least two U.S. senators in the face in a series of Twitter messages pleaded guilty in December to making interstate threatening communications.
Judge Gerald Bruce Lee of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia sentenced Kyler George Schmitz to two years of supervised probation and 90 days of home detention.
The Dec. 21 sentence came after Schmitz accepted a plea bargain offer by prosecutors that included pleading guilty to one of five counts in an indictment that charged him with making an interstate threatening communication.
Prosecutors had asked the judge to sentence Schmitz to six months in prison and a three-year term of supervised release on probation.
They pointed to one Twitter message that Schmitz sent to a senator, whose identity has been withheld, saying, “I’m going to shoot you in the head for allowing someone to murder my loved ones.” In a message to another senator, Schmitz stated, according to U.S. Capitol Police, “I am literally going to buy a gun [and] shoot you in the face [and] watch your brains splat #BangBangByeBitch.”
“The government submits that its proposed sentence is appropriate and reasonable in light of the seriousness of the defendant’s conduct, the history and characteristics of the defendant, and the need for a just punishment,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander P. Berrang said in sentencing memorandum to the judge.
In a sentencing memo on Schmitz’s behalf, defense attorney Geremy Kamens said Schmitz sent his threatening messages days after he was traumatized over the mass shooting in Orlando by a gunman who took the lives of 49 mostly LGBT patrons in the Pulse nightclub. Added Kamens, “All of the evidence makes clear that Mr. Schmitz had no intention of carrying out his threats.”