Woman de­nies death threat

Ac­cused of con­tact­ing Sandy Hook vic­tim’s dad

The Times-Tribune - - Nation - BY CURT AN­DER­SON

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A Florida woman ac­cused of threat­en­ing the par­ent of a boy killed in the Sandy Hook school shoot­ing be­cause she thought it was a hoax pleaded not guilty Mon­day and was barred from vis­it­ing web­sites that pro­mote such false con­spir­acy the­o­ries.

Lucy Richards, 57, en­tered her plea in Fort Lauderdale fed­eral court af­ter a pub­lic de­fender was ap­pointed to rep­re­sent her. The lawyer, Michael Spi­vack, de­clined to com­ment af­ter the hear­ing.

Ms. Richards was ar­rested Dec. 7 in Tampa on four felony counts of trans­mit­ting threats to Lenny Pozner, fa­ther of 6-year-old Noah Pozner who died in the 2012 mass shoot­ing in New­town, Con­necti­cut. Ms. Richards lives in Bran­don, near Tampa, but threats were re­ceived by Mr. Pozner in Palm Beach County, ac­cord­ing to court records.

Each charge car­ries a max­i­mum five-year prison sen­tence.

Ms. Richards, who is free on $25,000 bail, en­tered the court­room wear­ing furry slip­pers and us­ing an alu­minum walker. She told U.S. Mag­is­trate Judge Barry Seltzer she is on dis­abil­ity and has not worked in more than a decade when she was a waitress. She spoke softly in an­swer­ing the judge’s ques­tions, telling him she is not mar­ried and has no chil­dren, and that she had only been ar­rested once be­fore for steal­ing two sand­wiches from a gro­cery store.

Oth­ers linked to the Sandy

Hook mas­sacre have re­ported ha­rass­ment by con­spir­acy the­o­rists who ar­gue the event was staged to erode sup­port for Sec­ond Amend­ment gun rights. Ms. Richards, how­ever, said she owns no weapons.

“I’ve never touched or owned a gun,” she said.

The four threats were made Jan. 10, ac­cord­ing to au­thor­i­ties, and in­cluded mes­sages that said, “you gonna die, death is com­ing to you real soon,” and “LOOK BE­HIND YOU IT IS DEATH.”

An­other threat said, “there’s noth­ing you can do about it,” ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments.

Fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors suc­cess­fully got Ms. Richards pro­hib­ited from vis­it­ing con­spir­acy the­ory web­sites be­cause she told in­ves­ti­ga­tors

af­ter her ar­rest that she had been view­ing one when she sent the mes­sages to Mr. Pozner, said As­sis­tant U.S. At­tor­ney Karen Gil­bert.

“That’s what she got an­gry over, which led to the con­duct in this case,” Ms. Gil­bert said. “It’s these specif­i­cally I’m look­ing to restrict. I’m not look­ing for gen­eral news web­sites.”

Judge Seltzer also or­dered Ms. Richards to have no con­tact with Mr. Pozner or any­one else con­nected to the Sandy Hook killings.

Mr. Pozner has pub­licly sought to de­bunk con­spir­acy the­o­ries that claim Sandy Hook and other mass slay­ings were staged by the gov­ern­ment as part of an an­ti­gun agenda.

In an in­ter­view last week with The As­so­ci­ated Press,

Mr. Pozner said ig­nor­ing the del­uge of hoaxes posted on­line about his son’s death over the last four years is im­pos­si­ble and only em­bold­ens peo­ple to threaten him.

“This is such an an­ti­quated con­cept — ‘don’t feed the trolls,’ ” Mr. Pozner said. “All the peo­ple that have said that and ig­nored it all are re­spon­si­ble for this prob­lem fes­ter­ing and be­com­ing even worse.”

Mr. Pozner launched a web­site this year, www.honr.com, to ex­pand his net­work of vol­un­teers who re­port hoax-re­lated ha­rass­ment on so­cial me­dia and flag con­tent that vi­o­lates the terms of ser­vice for sites such as PayPal.

“All of these com­pa­nies are not de­fend­ing vic­tims,” Mr. Pozner said. “They need more ac­count­abil­ity.”

PAULA MCMA­HON / SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SEN­TINEL VIA AP

Lucy Richards leaves the fed­eral court­house in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Mon­day.

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