Conviction Tossed in Governor Threat Case

A judge's words got in the way

By Jack Heinbaugh
|  Tuesday, Mar 2, 2010  |  Updated 2:01 PM EDT
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Conviction Tossed in Governor Threat Case

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A Maryland man is free again after harsh words about illegal immigration landed him in prison.

Two years ago, Carl Abbott Jr. was angry over illegal immigration, and sent an e-mail to Gov. Martin O'Malley that included this phrase: "If I ever get close enough to you I will [w]rap my hands around your throat and strangle the life from you."

Abbott was arrested, convicted and began serving two years probation for threatening a public official.

The Court of Special Appeals overturned the conviction last week, ruling that the Baltimore County judge in the case failed to define the word "threat" for the jury or to tell jurors how to determine if the e-mail constituted a threat.

In an interview last year with the Washington Times, Abbott said he was innocent of the crime but has strong opinions.

He didn't mean the threat literally, his attorney said.

The state attorney general's office is considering whether or not to appeal the ruling.

Abbott is a construction worker who is married with two adult children.

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