Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Man gets 27 months in prison for threatening Brown-Waite during drinking binge

SPRING HILL — The Spring Hill man who admitted to leaving a threatening voice mail for U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite during a drinking binge will spend more than two years in federal prison.

Erik Lawrence Pidrman, 66, was sentenced on Thursday to 27 months during a hearing in U.S. District Court in Tampa. He pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of threatening to assault or murder a U.S. official.

He faced a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, but as part of a plea deal, prosecutors agreed not to oppose Pidrman's request for a sentence at the low end of sentencing guidelines. That would have been 13 to 19 months.

Pidrman will serve three years' probation after his release. During that time he must not drink alcohol or have any contact with Brown-Waite.

Reached by phone after the hearing, Pidrman's attorney, Ronald J. Kurpiers, II, said he was disappointed by the sentence.

Kurpiers had asked Judge Steven Merryday to work out a way to punish his client without sending him to prison because Pidrman has prostate cancer, among other health ailments including depression and osteoarthritis. He may face radiation and surgery, Kurpiers said.

He said Pidrman is an alcoholic, but he does not have a violent criminal history, and he was apologetic in court.

"Certainly we weren't minimizing what he said in the message," Kurpiers said. "I think one of the most profound things the judge said was that the statute wasn't written for a person who is sober vs. someone who is under the influence. It's pretty sad, really."

The FBI and the Hernando County Sheriff's Office used telephone records to track down Pidrman. When Pidrman was arrested at his home on April 18, he told authorities he did not remember leaving the March 25 message at Brown-Waite's Brooksville office.

The message: "Just want to let you know I have 27 people that are going to make sure that this b---- does not live to see her next term. Goodbye."

But when Pidrman heard the recording, he acknowledged to investigators that it was his voice, records show. Pidrman told agents he sometimes doesn't remember what he has done when he has had too much to drink.

He said at the time he was probably thinking other "poor bastards" in Congress who had supported health care reform had been receiving threats and that he likely thought, "Let me scare one of those righties."

Pidrman's criminal record includes arrests and convictions for driving under the influence and disorderly intoxication.

In a letter sent to Merryday in July, Brown-Waite questioned what she called Pidrman's "on the toot" defense and asked Merryday to hand down the maximum sentence.

In a statement Thursday, Brown-Waite praised Merryday's judgment.

"This is an important decision that will send the correct message about making death threats toward a federal official," Brown-Waite said.

Tony Marrero can be reached at (352) 848-1431 or [email protected]

Man gets 27 months in prison for threatening Brown-Waite during drinking binge 09/16/10 [Last modified: Thursday, September 16, 2010 7:34pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Florida woman weighing 325 pounds charged with killing girl by sitting on her

    Crime

    PENSACOLA — A 325-pound (150-kilogram) Florida woman is charged with killing her 9-year-old cousin by sitting on the child as punishment.

    This Oct. 14, 2017 photo made available by the Escambia County Sheriff's Office, Fla., shows Veronica Green Posey under arrest. Posey is charged with killing her 9-year-old cousin by sitting on the child as punishment. Posey, who weighs 325 pounds, first punished the girl with a ruler and metal pipe before sitting on her for at least 10 minutes. [Escambia County Sheriff's Office via AP]
  2. Girl, 8, got on 'tippy toes' to peer over cruise ship railing, then fell to her death

    Accidents

    MIAMI — A family cruise to paradise turned into a nightmare on Saturday, when an 8-year-old tumbled over the inner railings of a ship and fell to her death.

    Friends and family mourn Zion Smith, the 8-year-old girl who fell to her death aboard a Carnival cruise in Miami this weekend. [Image from Facebook]
  3. Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast: Looking back at what went wrong

    Bucs

    In his latest Cannon Fodder podcast, Greg Auman says Monday brought good news relating to Jameis Winston's shoulder injury.

    A frustrated Mike Evans sits on the bench during the second half of the Bucs' loss to the Cardinals Sunday in Arizona. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  4. Syrian commander says Raqqa has been captured from militants

    World

    BEIRUT — U.S.-backed Syrian forces liberated the city of Raqqa on Tuesday from Islamic State militants, a senior commander said, in a major defeat for the collapsing extremist group that had proclaimed it to be the capital of its "caliphate."

    This frame grab from video released Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017 and provided by Furat FM, a Syrian Kurdish activist-run media group, shows Syrian Islamic State group fighters who surrendered entering a base of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), in Raqqa, Syria. A spokesman for the SDF in Syria says it will be in control of the northern city of Raqqa "within a few days" after attacking the last pocket held by the Islamic State group. SDF fighters launched an operation to retake the last IS-held pocket of Raqqa after some 275 militants and their family members surrendered. [Furat FM via AP]
  5. Drug czar nominee Marino withdraws name amid report he weakened DEA

    National

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Tuesday that his nominee to be the nation's drug czar is withdrawing from consideration for the job.

    U.S. Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., left, sponsored the law that weakened the DEA's enforcement abilities. Seen with Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., in 2015, Marino is nominated to be the nation's drug czar. [Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg]