Michigan Man Pleads Guilty To Threatening A Mass Shooting Against Jewish People

(RepublicanReport.org) – Sadly, 2023 is turning out to be another wretched year regarding mass shootings. The Gun Violence Archive tracks reported and verified mass shootings, defined by the statistical threshold of four or more people shot or killed, excluding the shooter.

As of November 14, the 318th day of the year, the Archive reported 602 mass shootings, or 1.89 per day. At that pace, the total figure for the year will rise to 690 — a significant increase over the 645 instances reported and verified in 2022.

Rising instances of anti-semitism in the wake of the Israel-Hamas War have heightened concerns regarding a potential spike in shootings as 2023 winds down. After all, it’s only been three months since US District Judge Robert Colville ordered the death of Robert Bowers by lethal injection after a jury recommended capital punishment after finding him guilty of killing 11 people and wounding two others in the October 2018 mass shooting event at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue.

Michigan Man Enters Guilty Plea After Threatening Mass Shooting Against Jews

On November 13, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan issued a press release announcing that 19-year-old Seann Pietila pleaded guilty to one felony count of transmitting threatening communications related to his use of Instagram to send several messages regarding his plan to target Jewish people in a mass shooting.

Prosecutors agreed not to oppose a request for a two-level reduction of his offense under a written and signed plea agreement in exchange for his agreement to enter a guilty plea. They also agreed to drop another count of transmitting threatening communications and one of threatening to kill or injure another by means of fire.

US District Judge Robert J. Jonker, the judge overseeing Pietila’s case, scheduled the defendant’s sentencing hearing for March 4, 2024. He faces a maximum of five years in prison, a quarter million dollar fine, a special assessment of $100, and three years of supervised release. He also forfeits the right to possess firearms as a convicted felon.

Background of the Case

Court documents alleged that on June 1, the defendant communicated with another individual using the Instagram app about his “desire and plan to kill or injure Jewish people.”

Pietila also told the other person of his intention to “stream his attack over the internet” using an app that would allow others to record the transmission so they could post the incident online and send it to others.

The following day, he contacted another individual on Instagram. This time, he conveyed his “desire and plan” to kill or otherwise harm Jewish people using napalm, axes, machetes, knives, and firearms.

Prosecutors also alleged that Pietila knew at the time he sent those messages that a “reasonable” person would “view his messages as threats to kill or injure another.”

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