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Court rejects appeal of man who sent threatening letters

By The Associated Press - | Dec 3, 2021

FILE - In this March 22, 2019 file photo, an American flag flies outside the Department of Justice in Washington. President Joe Biden’s choice to lead enforcement of competition laws at the Justice Department has won Senate approval. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A federal appeals court has upheld convictions of mailing threatening letters in the case of a man who said he made clear his intent to “wage psychological warfare” against two estranged relatives, not to cause physical harm.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit rejected Matthew Oliver’s appeal on Wednesday.

Oliver was sentenced in New Hampshire last year to 15 months in prison. He mailed the first letter to a woman in Seabrook in January 2017, when he was jailed in Syracuse, New York, on burglary charges.

The letter included the words, “If I were you I’d tread carefully around town . . . and when I am done with you, you wont (sic) be able to walk let alone breathe until you die a moments (sic) notice from the day of my choice ,” according to court documents.

The woman got a protective order against him. That April, her daughter received a similar letter that also had a threat of sexual assault, the documents said.

When he was later interviewed by a deputy sheriff, Oliver said the first woman “should be worried and concerned for her safety.”

Oliver was later indicted, and a jury convicted him.

Oliver said that his letters did not support a true threat of physical violence. The appeals court said the jury had enough proof to convict him.


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