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California Briefing / Santa Diego

Man convicted of threats to Obama

July 29, 2009|Tony Perry

A 47-year-old La Mesa man was convicted in federal court Tuesday of making death threats against Barack Obama during the presidential race.

Walter Edward Bagdasarian faces a 10-year prison term when sentenced Oct. 26.

U.S. District Judge Marilyn Huff rejected Bagdasarian's lawyer's assertion that his client was drunk when he left messages on an Internet site using a racial slur and suggesting that Obama would soon be shot in the head with a .50-caliber rifle.

During a raid of Bagdasarian's home, law enforcement officials seized a computer hard drive and a .50-caliber rifle.

The trial, which Bagdasarian asked to be heard by a judge instead of a jury, lasted 90 minutes. Free on bail, Bagdasarian, who works in the airplane parts business, refused to speak to reporters as he left the downtown federal courthouse.

-- Tony Perry

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