A Boston man has been arrested and faces federal charges after he allegedly sent horribly racist, threatening Facebook messages to an interracial couple, law enforcement officials announced on Wednesday.
Stephen M. DeBerardinis, 45, of Boston and Dedham was arrested for threatening the couple after they posted a photo announcing their engagement with hateful, slur-filled messages he sent directly to the couple, who he did not know personally.
According to the indictment, DeBerardinis’ messages, which began on Jan. 6, 2021, included, “EWWWWWWWW YOUR A N***** F***** F****** DIRTY A** WHITE TRASH,” accompanied by many similar messages.
The couple messaged DeBerardinis back, telling him that they were reporting the harassment to the police, to which he responded with “SNITCHES GET STITCHES,” with a photo of brass knuckles, according to the indictment.
Other threats included “Read up more on me lol… you will see how me and my crew burn n*****s alive,” and “And white whores like you well…. get rape and killed THAN we cut off body parts and mail them to your family lol.”
The couple reported the incident to police, who then contacted federal authorities.
“My office aggressively prosecutes people who threaten racially-motivated violence because such threats are illegal, despicable and an affront to American values,” Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell said in a statement. “We take a hard line on threats and intimidation, and these charges make clear that such conduct will be prosecuted federally.”
DeBerardinis made his first court appearance in Boston on Wednesday.
“Today’s arrest cannot mitigate the fear that Stephen DeBerardinis caused, and the sense of security this couple lost, but it does bring him to justice for allegedly sending a series of rage-filled messages threatening horrific acts of violence,” said FBI Boston Special Agent Joseph R. Bonavolonta in a statement.
DeBerardinis was charged with one count of transmitting in interstate commerce threats to injure a person, one count of tampering with a witness and victim by intimidation, threats, and corrupt persuasion and one count of tampering with a witness and victim by harassment.
He faces several years in prison if convicted.
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