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Crime & Courts

Chugiak man sentenced in federal court for threatening emails

A Chugiak man was sentenced Friday in federal court for sending threats via email to someone he worked with at the Smithsonian Institution's Arctic Studies Center in 2016, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's office.

Brandon McElroy, 33, was ordered to serve five years of probation for sending emails that included the statements: "I very seriously thought about driving to your house and killing you tonight" and "This wasn't going to go away until one of us was dead."

It's illegal under federal law to send emails that threaten injury or kidnapping. McElroy pleaded guilty to one count of "transmitting threatening communication in interstate commerce," in December of 2016.

McElroy worked for the Arctic Studies Center for several years, filming rural Alaska as part of a project, the U.S. Attorney's statement said. As the project was ending in February 2016, McElroy "became upset and sent a Smithsonian employee several threatening emails," the release said.

"At sentencing, Judge Burgess noted that McElroy's threats placed the Smithsonian employee in fear," the statement said.

After he pleaded guilty, McElroy made comments about the person he threatened on social media.

It was not McElroy's first encounter with law enforcement related to sending threats. In 2015, he was convicted in state court of possessing of a weapon with intent to assault, a misdemeanor, according to court records.

According to a police blotter item in the Alaska Star, he threatened a former teacher, texting her that he would kill her, and then showed up at her house. He pulled out a rifle and shot into the woods before putting the car into reverse and striking a tree and a pole.

McElroy was ordered to attend mental health and substance abuse treatment, the statement said. He is also banned from talking about the case on social media.

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