Cleveland Man Pleads Guilty to Writing Threats to Justice Thomas, Other Prominent Blacks

A man who pleaded guilty Thursday to writing racially hateful letters and e-mails to blacks seen with white women had sent more than 200 threats since 1988, including one to a U.S. Supreme Court justice, a prosecutor said.

But David Tuason, 46, shed no light on why he wrote harsh communications, often posing as an irate white woman vowing vengeance and violence, such as castration or explosions at buildings.
He sometimes targeted mixed-race people, as well.

Tuason pleaded guilty to all eight counts in the indictment for electronically transmitting or mailing threatening communications. His sentencing is July 24.

The FBI had long been trying to find the source of the letters and e-mails. Agents arrested Tuason on March 14 after tracking e-mails sent from a public library.

The FBI tracked threatening e-mails to Cuyahoga County Library computer terminals from several branches in eastern Cuyahoga County. Library employees helped investigators identify a user when the e-mails were sent. Tuason was arrested March 14.

The quiet man who had lived at home with his parents sent threatening communications to high school, college and professional athletes, coaches, celebrities, musicians, news anchors, hospitals, police departments, lawyers and a member of the U.S. Supreme Court, according to a plea deal made public Thursday.

The messages were mostly similar, with slight variations.

Tuason, of the upscale Cleveland suburb Pepper Pike, acknowledged to U.S. District Judge Donald Nugent that he sent threat letters to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, among others.

Tuason, who is of Filipino descent, assured Nugent that he understands the charges and knowingly decided to plead guilty.

He answered Nugent's questions, replying "Yes, sir" or "Yes, judge." He quietly said "guilty" when each indictment charge was read to him.

He told Nugent he had studied medicine but never finished his degree. He said he had worked at "odd jobs" and had been employed by FedEx.

Tuason hunched in a chair, reaching with one hand to rub his eyes under his glasses or his forehead as Assistant U.S. Attorney Dean Valore read the government's plea deal. Valore estimated the number of hateful letters or e-mails sent exceed 200 since 1988.

The Justice Department agreed to not bring any additional criminal charges against Tuason based on evidence known when the agreement was reached May 8 or to pursue criminal charges against his parents.

Valore later said the mention of Tuason's parents is not significant because no charge was considered against them. They were in the courtroom but declined to comment after the hearing.

When sentenced, Tuason could receive up to 10 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 for conviction on a charge of writing a threatening letter to a Supreme Court justice, and he could get five years and a $250,000 fine on each of other charges.