An Atascadero man pleaded guilty Tuesday to making criminal threats against San Luis Obispo Women’s March participants on Facebook.
In August 2017, Daniel Joshua Phares, 46, was arrested after posting several comments on the group’s Facebook page in response to a vigil the group had organized in support of victims of violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Among his postings, Phares reportedly wrote, “I (sic) will kill every one of you and make you like it.”
San Luis Obispo police said Phares admitted to making the threats but told them he was just venting his frustration with the current state of events in the country and didn’t intend to hurt anyone.
In July, Phares’ attorney tried to get the charges against his client dropped, saying in a court filing that the facts in the case did not support the charges against Phares because his comment did not specifically target anyone, there was no evidence Phares had any relationship with any of the alleged victims or even knew their names or what they looked like, and that deleting the post demonstrated that he never intended to communicate a true threat.
According to the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office, Phares reached a deal with prosecutors in which he will be placed on probation for 18 months, undergo anger management counseling, and be banned from owning or possessing firearms and ammunition for ten years.
Phares owned two handguns and an AR-15 rifle that were seized during the investigation.
Phares is scheduled to be sentenced in December. The DA’s Office says the maximum punishment for this offense is six months in jail.
“Threats like this, whether on social media or made in person, must be taken seriously and will be vigorously prosecuted by my office,” said District Attorney Dan Dow in a statement released Tuesday.
As part of his plea agreement, Phares will also have to write letters of apology to the victims.