Houston Man Convicted of Threatening to Bomb Synagogue
HOUSTON—Dante Phearse, 33, has entered a plea of guilty to calling in a bomb threat to Congregation Beth Israel, a synagogue in Houston. The announcement is being made jointly by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas and the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.
Phearse pleaded guilty to the civil rights violation of threatening to bomb a synagogue and to making a telephone bomb threat. As part of his plea, he admitted that on April 30, 2013, he willfully obstructed members of Congregation Beth Israel from enjoying the free exercise of their religious beliefs by threat of force with an explosive device. Phearse also admitted to using an instrument of interstate commerce to communicate a threat to kill and injure people and to destroy a building by means of an explosive device.
According to court records, Phearse called the synagogue and left the following voice message:
Yes, hello, um, I was just wondering when you’re going to actually stop lying to the people, you know, we been helping you Jews for a long time, you know, the Shriners, and we been considering the fact the people that blacks are the direct descendents of God we know there is no such thing as a white Jew. Jews out there in Jerusalem all those (unintelligible)...they’re black we know that Jews are over the media over a lot of things y’all staged these bomb attacks is a lie, saying this is an Islamic terrorist group, you know, we are not supporting you Jews anymore; we’re tired of lying to you the Masons and Eastern Stars we are a Satanist group, we just, we using you Jews for money; we know that you’ve been teaching the fact that blacks are cursed that’s why they have long penises; we all know they are the real chosen people. If you don’t stop and tell your students the truth, we will be forced to bomb your facility, I’m sorry about this, but we will be forced to bomb your facility on May 2nd, we’re Masons; the Illuminati is the one who is going to take over.
As a result of the above threats, the school at Congregation Beth Israel was closed for a day, and extra security was hired to guard the synagogue and school, thus obstructing the synagogues’ members in the enjoyment of the free exercise of their religious beliefs.
U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt, accepted the plea today and has sentencing for July 7, 2014. At that time, Phearse faces up to 20 years in federal prison for the civil rights violation and a maximum 10 years for making bomb threats over the telephone.
The FBI investigated the case with the assistance of the Houston Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ruben Perez and Joe Magliolo and Civil Rights Division Trial Attorneys Nicholas Murphy and Saeed Mody are prosecuting in cooperation with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.