California man who stalked and threatened Florida woman faces maximum five years in prison

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Picture: Dan Perlman

FRESNO, Calif. —Earl John Velasquez, 23, of Bakersfield, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to stalking, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.

According to the plea agreement, between January and June 2018, Velasquez used various cell phones and social media applications to post threatening statements to a woman living in Florida. In addition to his own accounts, Velasquez created a social media account using a fictitious name and also used a relative’s account to send the threatening messages. Among other threats, Velasquez claimed he was planning on shooting up a tattoo parlor in Florida. On April 30, he commented on an Instagram post in which the victim was tagged and said, “I’m going to kill that girl one day.” This conduct caused substantial emotional distress to the victim.

Velasquez is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill on May 6, 2019. Velasquez faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

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