A 74-year-old Long Island man who was accused of sending grisly threatening letters to LGBTQ people and organizations over a period of many years has pleaded guilty.
Retired high school teacher Robert Fehring submitted his guilty plea on Wednesday, admitting that he sent letters threatening large-scale violence – including bombings and shootings – over an eight-year-period beginning in 2013. He now faces up to five years in prison.
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“Mr. Fehring is relieved to have completed this phase of the process and will now prepare himself for the final stage,” his attorney, Glenn Obedin, told Newsday.
Currently free on a $100,000 bond, his sentencing will take place on June 17.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, one of Fehring’s letters “threatened that there would ‘be radio-[controlled] devices placed at numerous strategic places’ at the 2021 New York City Pride March with ‘firepower’ that would ‘make the 2016 Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting look like a cakewalk.’”
In 2016, 49 people were killed in a massacre at the gay Pulse nightclub in Florida.
Another letter, sent to an organizer of an East Meadow, New York Pride event last June, details how close the recipient was to being killed.
“[W]e were right there you…FREAK!!!” it said. “They couldn’t get a shot off at you, slithering around the back stage area like a snake. Too many cops. Very disappointed. But your time has come. . .. They are out to KILL you….and your boyfriend. You are being watched. No matter how long it takes, you will be taken out…. high-powered bullet…. bomb….knife…. whatever it takes.”
When police searched Fehring’s home at the time of his arrest, they found “two loaded shotguns, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, two stun guns, and a stamped envelope addressed to an LGBTQ+ affiliated attorney containing the remains of a dead bird.”
David Klimnick, president and CEO of the Hauppauge, New York LGBT Center, received at least 12 threatening letters from Fehring and said they significantly affected his daily life.
“You think twice about starting your car. You think twice about getting the mail. You think twice about putting out the garbage. And this should not be taken lightly. It should not be taken lately at all and this person needs to go to jail and stay there hopefully for the remainder of his life where maybe he can get some help.”