A Howard County man was sentenced to two years in prison Thursday, after pleading guilty last year to threatening state lawmakers and a group that advocates for LGBTQI+ people.
Adam Michael Nettina, 34, of West Friendship, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge George L. Russell III. After his release from prison, he must also serve three years of supervised release.
“You have the right to your own opinions, but you don’t have the right to threaten the lives of those who disagree with you. As this case demonstrates, free speech does not include violent threats against others,” U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron said in a statement. “We’ll continue prosecuting these threats to the fullest extent of the law.”
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Nettina left multiple voicemails on the night of March 28, 2023, at the Human Rights Campaign, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy organization.
In the expletive-laced messages, Nettina made multiple threats, including “We’ll cut your throats. We’ll put a bullet in your head.”
In August, prosecutors added additional charges of making threats to two state lawmakers.
They included Nick Allen, who now represents Baltimore County’s District 8 in the House of Delegates. Allen was threatened in March 2022 when he was a candidate for office and posted a message of support on social media in honor of the Trans Day of Visibility. He received additional threats in November.
On election night, when Allen won his race, Nettina sent a series of Facebook messages, calling the delegate-elect a “Baby killing terrorist,” and wishing death on the candidate and his wife.
“Enjoy hell You’re going sooner than you think,” the messages stated, according to prosecutors.
Allen, who was not publicly named in the plea agreement, said in August that he and Nettina were former classmates.
“It’s clear that we have a mental health crisis in this country. And we have a hate crisis in this country. And those things tend to overlap in violent ways,” Allen said in the August interview. “I hope we will begin to see less of these kinds of things and less violence and less violent rhetoric.”
Messages to Virginia Del. Elizabeth Guzman (D-Prince William) were sent in October 2022, according to the plea agreement.
On Oct. 15, 2022, Nettina sent an email to the delegate’s press email account, stating: “The delegate is a terrorist. You are a terrorist. You deserve to be shot and hung in the streets. You want to come after people? Let’s go b**ch.” Nettina also sent a similar message to another email address of the delegate two minutes later, according to prosecutors.
The plea states that the emails were sent two days after a news story that included an interview with Guzman “in which she advocated for the prevention of abuse towards transgender children.”
In case filings, Nettina’s attorneys sought his release to an inpatient treatment program and that while he was accused of making threats, there was no evidence that he had made any effort to act on them.
“His words were offensive and harmful, but Mr. Nettina is not an individual who has acted on, or sought to act on, the threat,” his attorney, Joseph Murtha, wrote in April.