SCRANTON—The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Shawn Christy, age 28, of McAdoo, was convicted on November 26, 2019, by a federal jury on twelve counts involving threats against the President of the United States, transmitting threatening communications, interstate transportation of stolen vehicles, interstate transportation of stolen firearms, interstate transportation of firearms while charged with a felony offense, and unlawful possession of a firearm as a fugitive and as a convicted felon. The seven-day trial was held before U.S. District Court Judge Robert D. Mariani.
According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, the jury deliberated for approximately six hours before finding Christy guilty of all charges.
The evidence showed that arrest warrants were issued for Christy in early June 2018, for his failure to appear for court proceedings in Schuylkill and Northampton Counties, and that while a fugitive Christy posted threats in June 2018 to kill President Trump, Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli, and any law enforcement officer that sought to detain him.
Christy was apprehended in Ohio on September 21, 2018, after a three-month manhunt by U.S. Marshals, FBI agents, Secret Service agents, and state and local law enforcement from six states. Prosecutors presented evidence that Christy stole and transported two vehicles from Pennsylvania to New York State and West Virginia, stole firearms and transported them from Pennsylvania to Maryland and Kentucky, broke into businesses in Pennsylvania and Maryland, broke into a church in Maryland, and broke into residences in Butler Township, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky.
After the verdict, Judge Mariani ordered a presentence investigation report to be completed and tentatively scheduled sentencing for February 2020. Christy remains in custody pending sentencing.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Secret Service, the United States Marshals Service, U.S. Border Patrol agents, the Pennsylvania State Police, Butler Township Police, Maryland State Police, New York State Police, Allegany County, Maryland Sheriff’s Office, Nitro Police in West Virginia, Richland County Jail Officers in Ohio, Northeastern Ohio Correctional Officials, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Francis P. Sempa and Sean A. Camoni are prosecuting the case.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.
The maximum penalty under federal law for each threat offense is five years’ imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. The maximum penalty for each interstate transportation of a stolen vehicle offense is 10 years’ imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. The maximum penalty for each interstate transportation of a stolen firearm offense, and for unlawful possession of a firearm as a fugitive and convicted felon, is 10 years’ imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. The maximum penalty for each interstate transportation of a firearm while charged with a felony offense is five years’ imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant's educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.