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Help, not jail, over threats to president

Deloris Baines said President Bush doesn’t care for poor people.

Deloris Baines said President Bush doesn’t care for poor people.

TAMPA — A homeless woman who threatened President Bush in a letter to the White House will receive treatment from a local mental health facility instead of prison time, a federal judge ordered Tuesday.

Deloris Jean Baines, 45, admitted mailing a letter in July 2006 to the White House, explaining later to investigators that she wrote it because the president doesn't care for poor people.

"President Bush," Baines' letter began, and continued with misspellings and misplaced punctuation. "I have a 38 revolver I, brought for you! Your food in the White House is better than mine. Your living like a king, you had no need of nothing! Is Condoleezza Rice better than I, sir, I hate you, gonna get you too! Can you feel the hell I, live daily!"

Baines pleaded guilty in November to one count of threatening to injure or kill the president. She faced 18 to 24 months in prison.

Assistant federal public defender Dionja Dyer filed court papers this week that said Baines has suffered from serious, chronic and recurrent symptoms of mental illness for most of her adult life, which resulted in her becoming homeless.

In February 2007, a magistrate judge declared Baines incompetent and ordered medical treatment at a federal facility.

By November, Baines was competent enough to stand trial.

A counselor with Mental Health Care Inc. in Tampa evaluated Baines last week and said Baines qualifies for its treatment program for the homeless.

U.S. District Judge Susan Bucklew sentenced Baines on Tuesday to time served, but ordered that Baines remain in custody until today. The U.S. Marshals Service will transport her this morning to the federal courthouse, where she will be released to the custody of a Mental Health Care worker.

Kevin Graham can be reached at kgraham@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3433.

Help, not jail, over threats to president 02/26/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 26, 2008 11:41pm]
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