A federal judge has sentenced a Montana man to two years in prison for threatening to kill Senator Jon Tester (D-MT).
The individual, identified as Kevin Patrick Smith, left voicemails with the Senator's office in which he threatened the Senator's life.
Earlier this year, Smith had left multiple messages in which he made it clear that he was leaving the messages “on purpose.” Smith also dared Tester to go to the FBI, seemingly implying he believed that even the FBI couldn't stop him.
In one voicemail, Smith said, "There is nothing I want more than to have you stand toe to toe with me. You stand toe to toe with me. I rip your head off. You die. You stand in a situation where it is physical between you and me. You die."
Smith really didn't think this situation through as he is now going to spend the next two years in prison.
In one message, Smith said, "I would love to (expletive) kill you. I would love to see your FBI at my door. I would love to see something in the news."
The FBI didn't show up at Smith's door but they did contact him and warned that further voicemails would lead to serious legal trouble for him.
Smith was undeterred and continued to send threatening messages leading to the FBI arresting him on February 22nd.
Eventually, Smith accepted a plea deal that saw him plead guilty to one count of threats to injure and murder a U.S. senator.
All considering Smith got off easy as threatening a government official is either a class D or C felony that carries a sentence of 5 to 10 years in prison.
As for Senator Tester, it seems he has bigger things to worry about than one unhinged individual.
Smith's threats came about as a result of Tester's political decisions. It isn't easy being a Democrat in a state like Montana which is largely conservative.
Tester is running for a fourth term and Republicans consider him vulnerable and are working to unseat him. However, Tester has survived in Montana thanks to his centrism and his willingness to appeal to populist ideas.
Tester is running on the promise of being a fighter for Montana's citizens and veterans. Nonetheless, it will be a hard race and Republicans are determined to remove him and claim a valuable seat in Congress's deeply divided upper chamber.