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Pietila pleads guilty to threatening synagogue

Detroit News

GRAND RAPIDS, MI— A Pickford man has pleaded guilty in federal court to posting online threats saying he wanted to attack and kill people at an East Lansing synagogue.

Seann Pietila, 19, admitted to sending several Instagram messages saying he wanted to commit a mass shooting involving Jewish people. He pleaded Monday to transmitting a threatening communication in interstate or foreign commerce.

Mark Totten is the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan.

“We will show zero tolerance for hate-fueled acts of violence and threats of violence against anybody based on their race, their ethnicity, their religion,” he said.

Pietila faces up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000.

Sentencing is scheduled for March 4th, 2024.

Nicole was born near Detroit but has lived in the U.P. most of her life. She graduated from Marquette Senior High School and attended Michigan State and Northern Michigan Universities, graduating from NMU in 1993 with a degree in English.