Sentence Upheld for Threats Against FBI Agent, VP Biden - Criminal Law - U.S. Eighth Circuit
U.S. Eighth Circuit - The FindLaw 8th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Sentence Upheld for Threats Against FBI Agent, VP Biden

Some people would be flattered by Kim Hutterer's affection. Wait, who are we kidding? This lady is a bit nuts.

Back in the early 1990s, she was investigated by Agent Dean Scheidler of the FBI in connection to threats against a commercial airliner. While awaiting trial, she carved "death to Scheidler" on the seat in her cell. While in prison for that offense, she assaulted and threatened to kill a prison guard. When she was released, she continued to harass the prison guard though personal letters and calls to his work and home.

She ended up in custody again for unrelated terroristic threats in 2010. During that stint, as well as after her release, she sent sexually-explicit, threatening, and harassing letters, telephone calls, and text messages to Agent Scheidler's work and home. Some letters included a picture of a bloody knife with his name on it while others described her plans to "kill [him], sleep with him, and commit other grotesque acts."

Kim Hutterer
Image courtesy of KARE 11.

She also carved his name into her arm using a staple and at another point, threatened Vice President Joe Biden.

She was indicted on charges related to the threats, a plea bargain was reached, and a lengthy sentence was agreed upon in the range of 92-115 months, which included a break for accepting responsibility.

Ah, but alas, her love was not be silenced. She continued to send the letters, including one which promised the following:

"I would slowly cut skin off his body. Making small cuts to slowly allow the blood to drip out. I would cut his eyelids off. Break each of his fingers. Cut his palms open. I would make small cuts on Dean's penis and balls and watch the blood drip to the floor."

Bad times. When she was finally sentenced to 180 months, she was subjected to a few enhancements, including obstruction of justice and denial of the acceptance of responsibility departure that had been offered earlier.

In upholding her sentence, the Eighth Circuit held that continued threats against Agent Scheidler could amount to obstruction of justice because he could be a witness in future cases against her. The court also held that her obstructive acts justified the denial of the acceptance of responsibility downward sentencing departure, as such obstructive acts were inconsistent with someone who accepts responsibility for their actions.

Both the lower court and the Eighth Circuit also used and approved the enhancement for "official victims," which is applied when the victim was presently or formerly a government officer or employee or a family member of such a person, and the offense was motivated by such status.

As for the defendant's mental illness, it was outweighed by her escalating conduct, thirty-year criminal history, refusal of treatment, and other § 3553(a) factors, such as deterrence, protection of the public, and respect for the law.

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