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Man who made threats related to sexual orientation sentenced

April 25, 2022 GMT

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — A Eugene, Oregon, man who ran a white supremacist website and sent letters that terrorized a community college professor was sentenced in federal court to four years in prison.

Gary Franklin, 58, pleaded guilty in January to two counts of threatening communications by mail. His prison term handed down Monday will be followed by three years of supervised release, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.

Franklin targeted the professor in part because of her sexual orientation, the U.S. Department of Justice said in court documents. But the acts were not considered hate crimes because the letters were threats and did not “willfully cause bodily injury,” as federal statute requires.

Years after taking her class, Franklin sent two letters to the professor, which included threats and a violent picture showing a member of the LGBTQ+ community, according to the Justice Department.

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A forensic analysis done by the Oregon State Police Laboratory found Franklin’s fingerprints on the first letter. When the FBI searched Franklin’s home, the agency said it found weapons and books on dismemberment, torture and murder. They also found evidence he ran a white supremacy website.

Franklin has a long history of mental illness without the appropriate treatment, according to records filed by his defense attorney.