By Steve Pope | November 27, 2018
A federal court judge on Tuesday sentenced a Texas man who sent several messages in January threatening a mass shooting during a Jan. 14 Pittsburgh Steelers playoff game to 18 months in prison, followed by three years probation.
In court papers, attorneys for Yuttana Choochongkol, 41, of San Antonio, argued that he had been affected by the anti-depressant medication he was receiving at a Texas clinic that tests drugs for pharmaceutical companies.
Prosecutors argued in a court document filed Monday that he had not received any of the medication in the two days prior to when he sent the first message.
U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer, who said she watched the surveillance video of Choochongkol sitting at one of the clinic’s computers at the time one of the messages was sent, agreed with prosecutors saying “I think those arguments are belied by the video.”
Prosecutors also argued in the court filing that Choochongkol reported he was feeling fine the day he sent the first message.
Choochongko pleaded guilty earlier this year to making the threats on Jan. 10 and 11 days before the Jan. 14 game between the Steelers and Jacksonville Jaguars.
In his first message he said he was going to “Try and kill as many Steelers football players and fans as possible before taking my own worthless life. So see y’all in hell.”
In the second message he threatened to “Kill Roethlisberger,” adding; “Consider me armed and dangerous for this Sunday with inside connection. I will be packing an Uzi with many clips underneath my winter gear. My target will be the whole Steelers sideline. There is only one God!! His name is Allah!!”
FBI agents were able to track the IP address used to send the messages to computers at the clinic, and surveillance video showed Choochongko on the computer at the time the messages were sent.
In addition to the prison time, Judge Fischer ordered Choochongko to undergo mental health counseling. He received credit for the ten months he has served since his arrest.
Steve Pope can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org