A 26 year-old woman from Cross Plains, WI has been charged with two felonies for allegedly sending death-threat emails to Republican state Senators at the height of the dispute over Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) collective bargaining law.
According to reports from the Dane County, WI district attorney’s office, Katherine Windels of Cross Plains admitted to investigators she was behind the March 9 emails, which were sent to 15 Republican senators on the night the Senate passed the controversial collective bargaining restrictions for state workers favored by Walker.
Windels allegedly wrote that opponents of the collective bargaining law were planning “to assult you by arriving at your house and putting a nice little bullet in your head” and said “we have built several bombs that we have placed in various locations around the areas in which we know that you frequent.”
Widels was charged on Thursday with four counts stemming from the emails, including sending threats via a computer and creating a bomb scare. Two of the charges are felonies and carry a potential 7 year sentence.
According to the investigating documents, Windels acted alone out of frustration with Walker’s law. Read the criminal complaint here.
The state department of Justice kicked off an investigation of the emails after one of the recipients, state Senate leader Scott Fitzgerald, shared it with authorities. Investigators say they traced the emails to Windels by following the IP address back to her home address.
When a state investigator, Special Agent Ricardo Tijerino, went to Windels’ home to interview her, she reportedly conceded she might have called the senators “assholes.” But when Tijerino read aloud a sentence from her email — “Please put your things in order because you will be killed and your families will also be killed due to your actions in the last 8 weeks” — and asked if she was the author, she reportedly admitted she was. She said she was confused because she didn’t know why she wrote it, and reportedly told Tijerino she wasn’t planning on following through on any of her statements.
She also reportedly told the agent she was angry about what the Republican senators were doing.
One verbatim portion of an email cited by authorities promises to “send the message to you since you are so ‘high’ on Koch and have decided that you are now going to single handedly make this a dictatorship.”
One recipient of the emails, state Sen. Glenn Grothman (R), suggested to WISN-TV the alleged sender was lashing out.
“I hope this poor young gal hasn’t ruined her life over a few minutes of over emotional stupidity,” he said.