A 38-year-old Amarillo man was sentenced Thursday to two years in prison for threatening to kill three prominent New York City rabbis.
Christopher Stephen Brown, who is being held in the Randall County Jail, faced up to five years in prison after pleading guilty to a charge of interstate threats in September.
He appeared before US District Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk in Amarillo, who imposed a 24-month sentence and one year supervised release.
Brown was originally charged with two counts of interstate threats, but as part of his settlement, the other count was dismissed.
“Mr. Brown expressed abhorrent anti-Semitism and threatened to commit despicable acts of violence against certain Jewish authorities,” U.S. Attorney Leigha Simonton said in a statement. “We will never stop protecting the Jewish community and other religious groups from such troubling, hateful behavior. We hope that today’s verdict will serve as an affirmation for the victims, their families and the entire Jewish community.”
Court documents show that Brown was arrested in December, about a week after officers at Chabad Lubavitch headquarters contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation about death threats they received from a man posing as Madrikh Obadiah.
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The first round of threats was posted on the headquarters’ website on December 2, threatening death and destruction of their facilities. The message included a link to a YouTube channel for Dr. M Odibah.
The channel had videos hosted by a Madrikh Obadiah later identified as Christopher Brown.
Two days later, Chabad Lubavitch received voicemails from the same man threatening three rabbis that he would “rip out their eyes and tongues and kill any rabbi he could find.”
Additional calls came in the next day and were recorded by officers in which Brown threatened to “blow off the heads” of the three rabbis he had threatened the day before. Brown also said executions were being carried out.
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FBI agents traced the calls to Brown’s cell phone account in Amarillo and arrested him December 8. During his arrest, Brown wore a shoulder holster. Agents also searched Brown’s home and found a loaded .380 caliber semi-automatic pistol.
“Making threats designed to incite fear and cause potential physical harm is a serious criminal act with consequences,” James J. Dwyer, acting special agent for the FBI Dallas, said in a statement to affected individuals, law enforcement agencies and members of the Jewish community community in general. This behavior will not be tolerated and we will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to prosecute individuals who hold violent, anti-Semitic beliefs and pose a threat to public safety, and hold them accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”