Man In Utah, 71, Going to Jail After Making Racist Threats to Neighbors
Utah resident Robert Keller, 71, was sentenced to a year in prison and given a fine of $1000 after writing a threatening letter to an interracial family after they let an African American family member move in with them.
By sending this letter which contained the N-word, though misspelled several times, and made threats to the safety of the family, Keller violated the Fair Housing Act, which outlaws discrimination in the purchasing or renting of homes.
The recourse taken by the family that received the threats perhaps should be watched closely by African-Americans across the country who are on the receiving end of racist threats. It could establish a paradigm to be used in other places.
Prosecutor Carlos Esqueda claimed that the defendant was upset after seeing the boy walking through the city, with a white teenaged girl.
“There’s no little black girls to go out with, so our daughters are in line,” Keller wrote, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. “I catch that [N-word] around my daughter I’ll kill the ass—- and then go find what stupid person brought him here in the first place,” he said of the family’s then 13-year-old relative.
After pleading guilty in September to sending the first letter, Keller left another menacing note on the family’s vehicle.
After receiving these letters, the mother who is identified in court reports by her initials J.M. expressed her fear for her family in the Quail Lake Estates in Hurricane, Utah, where they reside.
“We constantly worry about it now and how this might play out in our neighborhood relationships,”she said.
Robert Keller explained that he hadn’t meant for the letters to go this far.
“I’ll admit I lost my temper,” he said in court. “It wasn’t really meant to be a threat; it was more or less to wake them up to what was going to happen down the road.”
Though Keller did not specify what he believed would “happen down the road,” the language in his letters left little to the imagination.
Keller’s sentence given by U.S. Magistrate Judge Evelyn Fuse will be followed by a year of supervised release and 260 hours of community service.
“I hope you will come to regret that even more than you do today,” Furse told Keller.