Metro Weekly

Maryland Man Threatens HRC, Gets Two Years in Prison

Adam Michael Nettina also wrote threatening emails to LGBTQ-supportive lawmakers in Maryland and Virginia.

Adam Michael Nettina – Photo: U.S. Department of Justice

A Maryland man has been sentenced to two years in prison for making death threats against the Human Rights Campaign.

Adam Michael Nettina, 34, of West Friendship, Maryland, pleaded guilty to transmitting threats in interstate commerce stemming from an incident on March 28, 2023, in which he left a threatening voicemail with the Human Rights Campaign, a national LGBTQ civil rights organization. 

Nettina was apparently sparked by news reports that the alleged perpetrator in the mass shooting at The Covenant School, a Christian school in Nashville, Tennessee, identified as transgender. Nettina referenced the shooting in his message to HRC.

“You guys going to shoot up our schools now?” Nettina reportedly said, according to an indictment. “Is that how it’s gonna be? You just gonna to kill little kids. You’re just going to slaughter fucking little kids.

“Let me tell you something, we’re waiting, we’re waiting. And if you want a war, we’ll have a war. And we’ll fucking slaughter you back. We’ll cut your throats. We’ll put a bullet in your head. We’re not going to give a fuck. You started this bullshit. You’re going to kill us? We’re going to kill you ten times more in full.”

As part of his plea deal, Nettina admitted that he had left the voicemail to issue a threat, with the knowledge that it would be perceived as such.

He also admitted to selecting HRC as a target because of the actual and perceived gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation of the people who work at the organization.

As detailed in the plea agreement, Nettina also sent threatening or violent messages to Maryland and Virginia lawmakers in the months prior.

On March 31, 2022, when a candidate for Maryland State Delegate posted a message of support for transgender people on social media, Nettina responded with a message stating he had “begun the formal process of getting [the delegate] excommunicated” from the Catholic Church. 

On November 8, 2022, after the delegate was elected, Nettina sent a message calling him a “baby killing terrorist,” saying, “Enjoy hell…. You’re going sooner than you think.”

That delegate was later identified by the Maryland politics website Maryland Matters as Del. Nick Allen (D-Baltimore Co.). 

On October 13, 2022, an online news story from Washington-based ABC affiliate WJLA was published about an interview given by Virginia State Del. Elizabeth Guzman, in which she talked about a bill she was sponsoring.

The bill — which had created no controversy when Guzman first introduced it in 2020 — expanded the definition of “child abuse” to include inflicting “physical or mental injury” on children due to their gender identity or sexual orientation. 

The story by WJLA — owned by the right-leaning Sinclair Broadcast Group — claimed that parents would face legal charges of child abuse if they did not affirm their child’s LGBTQ identity.

Conservatives seized upon the word “affirmation” to accuse Guzman of requiring parents to subject children to hormone therapy or transition-related surgery — neither of which were mentioned in the bill. Guzman later defended herself on a social media thread, claiming that the reporter had misrepresented her bill in his report. 

Responding to that news story, Nettina sent Guzman an email stating, “The delegate is a terrorist. You are a terrorist. You deserve to be shot and hung in the streets. You want to come after people? Let’s go bitch.” He sent a similar message to a second email address for Guzman. 

In his plea agreement, Nettina admitted to sending the threatening message to Guzman because of the “actual and perceived gender, gender identity and sexual orientation” of the LGBTQ people for whom Guzman had expressed support.

At a hearing on January 11, Nettina was sentenced to 24 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release upon his exit from jail.

“This defendant targeted and threatened members of the LGBTQI+ community and their allies, instilling fear and promoting violence toward a heavily targeted community,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke, of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, said in a statement. “This sentence underscores the Justice Department’s commitment to combating threats against public officials and protected communities. We will work tirelessly to expunge the growing threat posed by bias-motivated acts of violence directed at the LGBTQI+ community and their allies.”

“You have the right to your own opinions, but you don’t have the right to threaten the lives of those who disagree with you,” U.S. Attorney Erek Barron, of the District of Maryland, said in a statement. “As this case demonstrates, free speech does not include violent threats against others.”

“We are grateful to law enforcement for acting so quickly to keep our community safe after HRC received these specific threats, and we are pleased that a sentencing has been issued,” a spokesperson for HRC said in a statement. “We will continue our work to call out those who spread violence, fear, and disinformation.”

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