CEDAR RAPIDS — A Dubuque man was sentenced to more than two years in federal prison Monday for making multiple threats against President Donald Trump last year, which included detailed plans of how he would detonate homemade bombs at the White House.
Christian M. Delatorre, 25, pleaded last April in U.S. District Court to one count of willfully threatening to take the life of and inflict seriously bodily harm upon the president of the United States.
A criminal complaint showed a psychiatric nurse practitioner at Mercy Hospital in Dubuque last year, where Delatorre voluntarily checked in for mental health treatment, told authorities he was making threats about “assassinating” Trump to members of the hospital staff.
The nurse said Delatorre’s “anti-social behavior” wasn’t being controlled, and she was concerned about the hospital’s ability to confine him, according to the complaint.
On April 29, a federal agent met with Delatorre at the hospital, and Delatorre said he had been questioned by the Secret Service in the past about making threats to kill the president in 2012, 2015 and 2018, according to the complaint. He said he was “infuriated” when Trump made statements about sending immigrants back to their home countries.
A plea agreement showed Delatorre also was upset about Trump “mocking” people and described his behavior as “unpresidential.”
Delatorre told authorities he was “planning and revising his plan to attack President Donald Trump every day for over the past year,” according to the plea.
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He also researched on the internet how to make bombs, the plea showed. A list of materials was found on Delatorre’s cellphone.
Delatorre’s plans to use drones to activate the bombs and also to serve as decoys to draw away security at the White House were included in documents found. Delatorre told authorities if this plan doesn’t work, he would take “suicide” actions to carry it out, according to the plea agreement.
He also told authorities he was “obsessed” with firearms and knives, according to the plea. He believed “guns allow you to take someone’s soul,” and he sharpens knives to relieve stress.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Murphy, during sentencing, submitted photos found on Delatorre’s phone, which showed him with a gun, bag of ammunition, floor plan of the White House and bus ticket to Washington, D.C., scheduled for last April, but it was never used.
Murphy, during his argument for sentencing, said Delatorre’s actions stemmed from his underlying mental issues and occurred when he didn’t take his prescribed medication. His conduct was escalating, and he hadn’t been deterred after making those previous threats and being questioned by Secret Service agents in the past.
Murphy asked for a sentence at the top end of the advisory guideline — 30 months. Delatorre didn’t have any previous criminal history, except for disorderly conduct. But he needs to spend time in prison to adjust and maintain his medication, so he can be successful at rehabilitation, Murphy said.
Delatorre, during sentencing, said he didn’t intend to kill anyone. He wasn’t taking his medication, and he knew he needed help — that’s why he checked himself into the hospital last year.
U.S. District Judge C.J. Williams sentenced Delatorre to 30 months and ordered him to serve three years of supervised release following his prison term. During his release period, his phone and computer will be monitored as an added provision.
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Charges initially filed in Dubuque County District Court stemming from his threats to blow up the hospital were dismissed in December because he was charged in federal court.
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