By Bernie Woodall
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (Reuters) – A Florida woman who believed the 2012 massacre at a Connecticut elementary school was a hoax was sentenced on Wednesday to five months in federal prison after pleading guilty to threatening the father of one of the 20 children killed.
Lucy Richards, 57, admitted in a plea agreement to writing on the website of the father of one of the youngest Sandy Hook Elementary School victims: “LOOK BEHIND YOU IT IS DEATH” in January 2016.
Leonard Pozner was not identified in court records but confirmed in an interview with Reuters that he was the target of the threats, which he believes occurred because of his public opposition to those who deny the killings happened.
A 20-year-old man armed with an assault rifle gunned down 20 first-graders and six educators at the school in Newton, Connecticut, on Dec. 14, 2012, in the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history.
Conspiracy theorists have charged that the event was a hoax, a “false flag” staged by political activists who wanted to crack down on gun ownership in the United States. Connecticut, New York and Maryland passed laws limiting sales of assault rifles and high-capacity magazines following the massacre, but federal laws were unchanged.
“I’m satisfied with the sentencing because for me it’s about raising awareness to this growing problem of alternative facts and people who are easily influenced by those facts, and then, take it upon themselves to think that they are the part of some army of good,” Pozner said.
Pozner said his family including his wife and two daughters, now 12 and 10, moved to South Florida at the end of the school year in which his son, Noah, was killed at the age of 6. The younger of his daughters was Noah’s twin sister.
Richards, who lives near Tampa, pleaded guilty in Fort Lauderdale to one count of transmitting threats via interstate commerce, according to federal court documents.
Her attorney, federal public defender Robert Berube of Fort Lauderdale, did not return phone calls for comment.
Pozner said he still received threats “constantly” online. He founded a website that seeks to counter people who say the shootings never took place.
The Sandy Hook gunman, Adam Lanza, began his rampage by killing his mother in their home and ended it by turning his weapon on himself as he heard police sirens approaching.
(Reporting by Bernie Woodall; Editing by Scott Malone and Peter Cooney)