Sentencing Set for Venezuelan Who Phoned Threats to Newtown Residents

PHOTO: A police officer leads two women and a child from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in this Dec. 14, 2012 photo.Shannon Hicks/Newtown Bee/AP Photo
A police officer leads two women and a child from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in this Dec. 14, 2012 photo.

A Venezuelan who pleaded guilty to making random threatening phone calls to residents of Newtown, Connecticut, shortly after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in December 2012 will be sentenced Friday.

Wilfrido Cardenas Hoffman, 31, faces up to five years in prison after federal prosecutors said he used a voice over IP app to place more than 90 phone calls from his home in Venezuela to 47 telephone numbers in Newtown.

According to court records Hoffman invoked the name of the gunman.

"This is Adam Lanza. I'm gonna [expletive] kill you. You're dead. You're dead. You hear me? You're dead." In another phone call, Hoffman said: "This is Adam Lanza. I'm gonna kill you. You're dead. With my machine gun. You're dead [expletive]."

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In one instance, court records show Hoffman's call was answered by a 15-year-old high school student, who described Hoffman to investigators as "creepy and young" and stated that she was terrified by the threats.

"These threatening calls, just two days after the tragedy, compounded the collective suffering of all of the citizens of Newtown and needlessly stressed law enforcement resources at a critical time," US Attorney Deirdre Daly said. "It is reprehensible criminal conduct."

Hoffman has been detained for seven months since his arrest at Miami International Airport as he was en route from Mexico to his home country. The defense argued he should be sentenced to time served because he is mentally ill.

"At the time he made the phone calls at issue in this case, there is no question that Mr. Hoffman was suffering from the symptoms of schizophrenia and unmedicated," his defense attorney argued in court papers.

On Dec. 14, 2012, 20-year-old Adam Lanza broke into Sandy Hook Elementary School and opened fire, killing 20 students and six staff members, along with his mother and, finally, himself.