A Washington state man has been charged with threatening to kill Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) because she supported health care reform, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington's office.
Charles Alan Wilson, 64, was arrested Tuesday in Yakima, Wash., and charged with threatening a federal official, according to the release. The felony charge is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Wilson had allegedly been making threatening calls from a blocked number to Murray's Seattle district office for months telling Murray, among other things, that "there's a target on your back now. There are many people out there that want you dead," "I hope somebody blows your f---ing brains out," "I hope somebody kills you, and I hope somebody kills [the President]," and "I want to f---ing kill you," according to a probable cause statement filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.
In more than a dozen profanity-laced calls between March 22 and April 4, Wilson railed against the new health care law as a death warrant for senior citizens and called the bill's proponents socialists, baby-killers and more.
Court records show that a Seattle staffer in Murray's district office reached out to the FBI telling them that an unidentified caller had been leaving messages from a blocked number for months, but in the days surrounding the vote on and passage of health care reform, the calls became increasingly threatening.
Agents traced the calls to Wilson's home in Selah, near Yakima.
One agent called Wilson identifying himself as a representative of a group that aims to repeal health care reform. Wilson allegedly expressed great disdain for the bill and used much of the same terminology that was heard in the voice mails. He also told the agent that he possessed and regularly carried a firearm.
On the basis of that conversation, the agent concluded that Wilson was the same man who left the voice mails.
"Free speech is the cornerstone of our democratic process, and we are a country of vigorous debate," Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Greenberg said in a statement. "However, threats of violence have no place in that debate. The threats here crossed the line, and violate the law."
Murray spokesman Matt McAlvanah declined to comment because of the ongoing FBI investigation.