Clarks Summit Man Sentenced for Presidential Threat

Published 06/18 2014 04:15PM

Updated 06/18 2014 06:42PM

A Lackawanna County man who called President Barack Obama the "anti-Christ" and threatened his life apologized in court Wednesday.

Right before Nicholas Savino of Clarks Summit was sentenced, the judge said a message needed to be sent to the public about his actions.

After pleading guilty to threatening the President of the United States, Savino could have faced up to five years behind bars.

Savino was sentenced to exactly one year in prison.

On the streets, some people say the sentence was fair while others believe it was too lenient.

At his hearing in Scranton federal court, Savino said he's sorry and never intended to kill President Obama last year.

"This unfortunately was a rash act by a guy that was under a lot of pressure and was not, at the time, mentally balanced," defense attorney Paul Ackourey said.

Federal prosecutors say after being denied a pilot's license, Savino took to the internet, sending an e-mail to the White House, saying in part, "President Obama is the anti-Christ. As a result of breaking the constitution you will stand down or be shot dead."

"I think it was just. You can't threaten the President of the United States," Raymond Lyman of Scranton said. "I mean, we had a couple of presidents that were assassinated."

Outside the federal courthouse, reaction to the one year prison term was mixed.

"Absolutely too lenient. For somebody to threaten the president and get away with just a year? That's a known figure! The highest figure we look upon, in comparison to people who just get a year for DUI or a year for any other crime," David Malewich of Scranton said.

The threat came right before President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden made a stop at Lackawanna College last August.

When officials raided his apartment on Melrose Avenue in Clarks Summit, they found guns, a long-range scope and roughly 11,000 rounds of ammunition.

Savino told the judge Wednesday he bought those items as an "investment" after Congress thought about making some weapons and ammunition illegal last year.

"He purchased the ammunition thinking that if the price rose on that ammunition it was a good investment. It didn't. They didn't ban ammunition. They didn't ban guns. It turned out to be a lousy investment. It turned out to really be an achille's heal in this case," Ackourey said.

Savino has already been in jail for roughly ten months. That means he will only have to serve about two more months before being released.

When released, Savino will also have to serve two years probation and pay a fine of $3,000.

Savino will also have to give up all of the guns and ammunition that investigators seized as part of this case.

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