Many people in Massachusetts underestimate the power that making a threat can have. Most people think that a threat is just words and that it is okay to make idle threats when you are mad. However, Massachusetts law enforcement takes threatening to commit a crime very seriously. Below are a few recent news reports in which people were charged with threatening to commit a crime, to illustrate just how common these cases are.
Lowell Man Threatens to Decapitate Neighbor
The Boston Herald reports that Malcolm Jones, a pseudonym, was charged with threatening to commit a crime and assault with a dangerous weapon after a fight with his neighbor in which Jones threatened to decapitate someone with a machete if the neighbor did not turn down his music. Witnesses reported that Jones was brandishing a machete and making loud threats. When police arrived, they searched Jones’ home and found a machete, a .22-caliber rifle, and a 30-round magazine. Jones is being held on $10,000 bail.
Student Threatens a Bolton High School
My Fox Boston recently reported about a Nashoba Regional High School student who threatened to “pull a [C]olumbine…” before graduation, posting the threat to the social media app Whisper, where people often post confessions and secrets anonymously for anyone to read. Another student read the message and notified police. The police were able to obtain the GPS coordinates of the location where the anonymous poster made the post, which turned out to be the home address of two Nashoba Regional High School Students. After talking to the parents and the students, it was determined that one of the students living at the address had made the posting. She was charged with threatening the use of a deadly weapon and threatening to commit a crime.
Newton Firefighter Threatens to Kill Girlfriend
CBS Boston reported earlier this year a case involving a Newton firefighter, who assaulted and then kidnapped his girlfriend while she was on a break at her job. Allegedly, the man crept up behind her, punched her in the head and then put her in his car to take her back to their apartment. The girlfriend awoke while being driven back to the apartment, after which the man allegedly pulled her hair and threatened to kill her. At the first chance she had, the girlfriend escaped and contacted the authorities. The defendant stands charged with kidnapping, assault and threatening to commit a crime.
Threats Can Constitute a Crime
The charge of threatening to commit a crime only requires that the person who made the threat has the intent to harm another or property and the specific intent to communicate the threat to the intended target of the threat. The threat must be a crime if carried out and the threat must be made under circumstances in which the target can reasonably be afraid that the threat is real.
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