An Arizona man "venting with a buzz" was sentenced Wednesday to more than a year in federal prison, plus three years’ probation, after being convicted of leaving threatening phone messages for U.S. Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz.
The defendant, Steve Martan, 58, of Tucson, was charged last year in federal court with threatening to “assault and murder a United States official” after multiple calls to McSally's office, the Tucson Sentinel reported.
“Can't wait to f---ing pull the trigger, b----,” one message said, according to authorities.
Martan pleaded guilty in September, and faced up to two years in prison under a plea deal. He was sentenced Wednesday morning by U.S. District Court Judge Cindy Jorgenson.
He admitted making the calls, saying he was frustrated by McSally’s votes in support of President Donald Trump, Tucson’s KVOA-TV reported.
Last year, Martan told the Sentinel he was “venting with a buzz” and “just want(ed) to say sorry to Martha and the great people of Southern Arizona.”
Threats against public officials have taken on added urgency in Arizona since Jan. 8, 2011, when former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., was shot in the head in an attack in a supermarket parking lot in Casas Adobes, Ariz., that left six people dead and 13 injured.
Giffords survived, but suffered a serious brain injury and was forced to leave Congress. She and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, have been staunch gun control advocates ever since.
McSally, 52, has been a member of Congress since 2015. She is currently running for a U.S. Senate seat, in a bid to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.