Florida Man Charged with Mailing Death Threats to Connecticut Residents
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that GARRETT SANTILLO, 35, recently residing in Hollywood, Fla., has been charged by indictment with mailing numerous threatening letters to individuals in Connecticut, including two federal judges and Connecticut’s governor.
On September 23, 2014, a federal grand jury in New Haven returned a nine-count indictment charging SANTILLO with writing and mailing threatening letters. SANTILLO, who has been detained since his arrest on September 29, 2014, appeared today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Donna F. Martinez in Hartford and entered a plea of not guilty to the charges.
As alleged in court documents and statements made in court, on July 15, 2014, a federal judge received a threatening letter at his Connecticut residence via the U.S. Postal Service. The letter was postmarked on July 11, 2014, from Miami, but did not bear a return address. The letter writer made certain demands and stated “You (sic) home addresses in Conn. are public information and if you mask your identity by name or appearance, we can still track you to wherever you go and will kill you if you don’t follow what this letter instructs.”
Following the judge’s receipt of the threatening letter, approximately 14 other individuals in Connecticut, including another federal judge and the governor of Connecticut, also received letters containing death threats. All of the letters were handwritten, were mailed from the Miami area to the victims’ home addresses in Connecticut, did not bear a return address, contained a demand for action and threatened death if the recipient failed to comply with the writer’s request.
The indictment charges SANTILLO with two counts of impeding, intimidating, influencing or retaliating against a federal judge by threats, which carry a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years on each count, and seven counts of mailing threatening communications, one of which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and six of which carry a maximum term of imprisonment of five years.
U.S. Attorney Daly stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Alvin W. Thompson in Hartford.
This matter is being investigated by the U.S. Marshals Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Connecticut State Police, the Yale University Police Department and the Broward County (Fla.) Sheriff’s Department, with the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracy Dayton.