Year in prison for Murray calls

SEATTLE - A Washington state man who admitted leaving threatening phone messages for Sen. Patty Murray was sentenced Friday to a year and a day in prison.

Federal prosecutors in Seattle had asked the judge to sentence Charles Alan Wilson, 64, to the year-and-a-day term after he pleaded guilty in June to threatening a federal official. His defense attorney, arguing that the behavior was “totally aberrant” for Wilson, sought a one-day sentence.

Wilson pleaded guilty to making threats against Murray, D-Wash., in June. He said he never intended to harm the senator, and his lawyer said in sentencing documents that he’s so ashamed he avoids driving through town .

Wilson was arrested at his Selah home in April after staffers in Murray’s downtown Seattle office became concerned over profanitylaced phone messages left on the answering machine by an unknown man.

Usually, according to a staff member, the calls were merely vulgar and harassing.

But March 22, “the caller began to make overt threats to kill and/or injure Senator Murray,” according to charges filed by the FBI.

In that message Wilson stated: “I hope you realize there’s a target on your back now. Kill the (expletive) senator! I’ll donate the lead.”

In several similarly vulgar and profane messages left over the next week, the caller repeatedly threatened Murray’s life and said he “hopes somebody kills” President Barack Obama as well, according to portions of transcripts in the complaint.

“The government views Wilson’s offense as an extremely serious one,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Greenberg wrote in the government’s sentencing memorandum.

The fact that Wilson never intended to carry out the threats made no difference, Greenberg said, because Murray’s office staff had no way of knowing that.

Defense attorney Paula Deutsch wrote that Wilson had been a hardworking single parent all his life .