PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – An Oregon man who falsely reported his father and brother as terrorists after being excluded from a family wedding was sentenced Thursday to three years on probation.
Upset he didn’t get an invitation, Sonny Smith placed anonymous phone calls in September 2016 to security offices at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas and the Midland International Air and Space Port in Midland, Texas.
He said Robert and Danny Smith were terrorists traveling through those airports. The men were temporarily detained by investigators, and the brother, Danny, missed his flight.
The authorities later determined that Sonny Smith had made the calls from Portland.
He pleaded guilty in February to telecommunications harassment.
At Thursday’s sentencing, the 38-year-old apologized for his actions and promised to work on his mental health and education.
U.S. District Judge Anna Brown could have sentenced Smith to two years in federal prison, but agreed to the more lenient recommendation from defense attorney Todd Bofferding and prosecutor Hannah Horsley. Both said Smith’s victims did not want to see him go to prison.
Bofferding noted that Smith was pulled out of school in the second grade and suffers from anxiety. Bofferding said Smith’s father, who lives out of state, “told me he just wanted his son to be well” and does not harbor any resentment.
Copyright 2018 The Associated Press.