GREENBELT, Md. — A West Virginia man was sentenced to federal prison time after he sent emails threatening Dr. Anthony Fauci and another federal health official for talking about the COVID-19 pandemic, testing and efforts to prevent the spread.
Patrick Connally Jr., 56 of Snowshoe, was sentenced before U.S. District Judge Paula Xinis of Maryland Thursday to 37 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release.
Connally admitted in federal court in May to making threats against a federal official, specifically for sending emails threatening harm to Fauci, the current director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, which is located in Maryland.
MetroNews reported that Connally was accused of using an encrypted email service to send threats to Fauci, as well as to additional public health officials from December 28, 2020, to July 25, 2021. He used an anonymous email account based in Switzerland from firstname.lastname@example.org. Investigators determined the account was first registered on Feb. 4, 2018.
The first emails sent to Fauci were titled, “Hope you get a bullet in your compromised satanic skull today.” A later email was titled “6 mandatory shots to your disgusting elf skull.” And yet another was labeled “Cutting your scalp off and sewing it onto a rat.”
U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland, Erek L. Barron said in a news release this week, “Everyone has the right to disagree, but you do not have the right to threaten a federal official’s life.”
Investigators tracked and identified Connally through the Protonmail account’s interactions with other services registered to him, including an Instagram account.
MetroNews previously reported that the investigators said that the Instagram account, which had the similar user name “Naturtheater Alhena” was created on May 14, 2020, from an Internet Protocol address associated with a property Connally had been renting. That was a cabin at Snowshoe, a West Virginia resort popular with skiers.
On April 27, 2020, Connally executed an extension of his cabin rental using the same IP address that had been used to create the Instagram account, another connection used to identify him.
Investigators identified additional, separate email accounts used by Connally that sent information like passwords back and forth to the same Protonmail account that was used to threaten Fauci.