District of Maryland | Howard County Man Pleads Guilty for Threatening An LGBTQI+ Advocacy Group

Baltimore, Maryland – Adam Michael Nettina, age 34, of West Friendship, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to using the telephone to threaten a group that advocates for LGBTQI+ people.  As part of his plea agreement, Nettina also admitted sending messages to Maryland and Virginia state delegates due to their statements in support of transgender people.

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division; and Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Sobocinski of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office.

“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,” said United States Attorney for the District of Maryland, Erek L. Barron.  “We’ll continue prosecuting these threats to the fullest extent of the law.”

“Bias-motivated threats of violence terrorize entire communities and have no place in our society,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.  “The Justice Department will continue to investigate and prosecute individuals who commit unlawful acts of hate in our country.”

“All Americans should be able to go about their daily lives without fear and without threats of violence,” said Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Sobocinski of the FBI’s Baltimore Field Office. “Protecting the American people is the FBI’s number one priority and we remain committed to protecting the rights of all Americans. We urge members of the public to notify law enforcement about threats of violence or if they have any concerns.”

According to court documents, on the evening of March 28, 2023, the victim organization received a threatening voicemail from a phone number, which investigators identified as belonging to Adam Michael Nettina.  The message referenced the March 27, 2023, mass shooting at a school in Nashville, Tennessee, involving multiple shooting fatalities, where police identified the perpetrator as a transgender woman.  During the call, numerous threats were made including, “ . . . We’ll cut your throats.  We’ll put a bullet in your head . . . . You’re going to kill us?  We’re going to kill you ten times more in full.”  Nettina admitted that he left this voicemail for the purpose of issuing a threat and with the knowledge that the voicemail would be viewed as a threat.  Further, Nettina intentionally selected the advocacy organization as a target of his message because of the actual and perceived gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation of the people who work at and are assisted by the organization.

As detailed in his plea agreement, on March 31, 2022, a Maryland State Delegate posted a message of support on social media in honor of Trans Day of Visibility.  Nettina responded on social media later that same day, which stated, among other things, that he had “begun the formal process of getting you excommunicated . . . ” from the Catholic Church.  On November 8, 2022, the delegate was reelected.  Nettina sent the delegate another message on social media, stating: “ . . . Baby killing terrroist.  Enjoy hell You’re going sooner than you think.”

Finally, as outlined in the court documents, on October 13, 2022, an online news story was published about an interview a Virginia State Delegate gave in which she advocated for the prevention of abuse towards transgender children.  Two days later, on October 15, 2022, Nettina used the internet to send an email to the delegate’s press email account, 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 b**ch.”  Nettina also sent a similar message to another email address of the delegate two minutes later.  Nettina intentionally selected the delegate and her campaign staff as the recipient of his email because of the actual and perceived gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation of the people and constituents for whom the delegate had expressed support.

Nettina faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison for making threats transmitted by interstate communications.  U.S. District Judge George L. Russell, III has scheduled sentencing for Nettina on November 3, 2023, at 9:30 a.m.

United States Attorney Erek L. Barron and Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke commended the FBI for its work in the investigation.  Mr. Barron and Ms. Clarke thanked Assistant U.S. Paul E. Budlow and Trial Attorney Tara Allison of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, who are prosecuting the federal case.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland (USAO-MD) is launching the national Department of Justice initiative, United Against Hate, this spring.  Together with our local partners, USAO-MD’s United Against Hate campaign will empower local residents and communities to combat unlawful acts of hate, stand against racism and discrimination and alter the course of growing intolerance. 

For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit www.justice.gov/usao-md and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/community-outreach.

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