A man who wrote hundreds of threatening letters over 20 years to black and mixed-race men — including Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter — was sentenced Tuesday to three years and 10 months in prison.
David Tuason apologized in federal court, saying he never meant to hurt anybody. He said he sent the threatening letters because a black man "stole" the girlfriend he planned to marry.
Tuason, 46, pleaded guilty in May to six counts of mailing threatening communications and two counts of threatening interstate communications.
Prosecutors said Tuason, who is of Filipino descent, sent more than 200 hateful letters or e-mails, many to black or mixed-race men seen with white women.
Hundreds of other letters were found in March when federal agents searched Tuason's bedroom at his parents' home in suburban Pepper Pike, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Dean Valore.
"This conduct would have continued for 20 more years," Valore said.
Wide range of people got letters
Tuason sent threatening communications to high school, college and professional athletes, coaches, celebrities, musicians, news anchors, hospitals, police departments and lawyers, according to his plea deal.
Valore said a girl targeted by Tuason suffered severe amounts of stress that included sleepless nights and an inability to concentrate on her studies.
"Some of them will never recover," U.S. District Judge Donald C. Nugent said. "That's about as bad as it gets."
The counts to which Tuason pleaded guilty carry up to 10 years in prison. Nugent sentenced him to the maximum called for under federal sentencing guidelines. Tuason had no prior convictions.
According to the April 9 indictment, Tuason sent a letter to the Supreme Court on July 25, 2003, addressed to an associate justice of the court referred to as "CT." The indictment only used the initials of victims.
In the letter, which contained several racially derogatory remarks, the writer threatened to blow up the Supreme Court building, and wrote that "CT" would be "castrated, shot or set on fire ... I want him killed."
'I never really meant what I said'
In court Tuesday, Tuason said wrote the letters after seeing people in the media that triggered his emotions over losing his girlfriend. He said he believes all races are equal and added, "I never really meant what I said."
Tuason looked sadly at family members upon entering and exiting the courtroom Tuesday. A male family member declined to comment after the hearing.
FBI agents arrested Tuason after tracking e-mails sent from a public library. In his bedroom, agents found an IBM typewriter with a font that matches letters Tuason sent in the late 1980s, Valore said.
Tuason will be on supervised release for three years following his incarceration. During that time, the government may monitor his computer and mail.
He told the judge he wants a chance to redeem himself by working at an urban hospital. Tuason, who has a medical degree from a school in the Philippines, has never practiced medicine in the U.S., Valore said. Tuason worked odd jobs and had long been unemployed.