NEW: Judge comes down hard on woman who threatened grieving dad


A woman accused of sending threatening messages to a Palm Beach County man whose 6-year-old son was murdered in the Sandy Hook school shootings apologized in federal court Wednesday.

But that didn’t keep a federal judge from discarding a plea deal agreed to by the defense and prosecution and imposing a harsher sentence on Lucy Richards, 57.

Richards will serve five months in prison, followed by five months in home detention with an electronic monitor and then three years supervised release. The plea agreement had not included any prison time and only 30 months of supervised release.

Download our PostNOW app to get the latest Breaking News

Judge James I. Cohn said that “hatred and bigotry” had caused Richards to threaten Lenny Pozner through emails and voice mails. Pozner’s son Noah was killed along with 19 other children and six adults by Adam Lanza in 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

Richards, of Brandon, admitted in court documents that she sent the threats because Pozner “was raising money for his dead son, and it made me angry because Sandy Hook never happened.”

Cohn told Richards the threats were “cruel and insensitive” and that her history of mental illness, which included a suicide attempt earlier this year, was not a factor in her decision to send the threats.

“Unfortunately for Leonard Pozner, his loss is all too real,” Cohn said. “I am sure he wishes this was fake and he could embrace Noah, feel Noah’s heartbeat and hear Noah say ‘I love you, Dad.’ All too real, Mr. Pozner is left with shattered dreams and a broken heart that will never mend.”

Following Richards’ sentencing, Pozner released a statement.

“Losing a child, particularly in the manner we lost Noah, is a horrifying, life-changing event. Day after day, I wake up with the knowledge that we have to face the rest of our life without our boy. People like Lucy Richards, who torment victims of violent crime by denying and mocking their pain are a sad reality. Her sadism is evident in her statements and the twisted joy she gets in pouring salt in our wounds and adding to our pain.

“Whatever demons drove her to threaten me, she needs to be held accountable for her crime.”

Richards was originally scheduled for a plea and sentencing hearing March 29 and was expected to receive house arrest and probation. But Richards skipped her court date and a psychological evaluation unsealed Wednesday by Cohn revealed that Richards had attempted suicide that day of the hearing by swallowing 48 pills of Benadryl.

Following the suicide attempt, Richards was involuntarily hospitalized under the Baker Act. She was arrested April 1 at a Tampa-area hospital and has been held in custody in Broward County since then.

Sending the threats to Pozner was the “worst mistake of my life,” Richards said Wednesday.

“I don’t know where my head and my heart were that day when I made the calls, but they were not in the right place,” said Richards, who entered the courtroom in a wheelchair.

Richards pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of interstate transmission of a threat to injure. Three other counts of the same charge were dismissed by Cohn.

Palm Beach Post Data Editor Mike Stucka contributed to this story.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

NEW: Man arrested in armed robbery that killed father of Parkland shooting survivors
NEW: Man arrested in armed robbery that killed father of Parkland shooting survivors

Broward County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested a teen who they say fatally shot the father of Parkland school shooting survivors in an armed robbery in North Lauderdale.  Tyrone Fields, 19, faces charges of first-degree murder and robbery with a firearm in the Tuesday incident, according to the arrest report. He is being held at...
JUST IN: Man, 31, dies in crash near Boca; woman badly injured
JUST IN: Man, 31, dies in crash near Boca; woman badly injured

Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office deputies identified a man who died in a crash near Boca Raton on Friday morning. At about 10 a.m., Boca Raton resident Nicholas Thomas, 31, was driving southbound on Ponderosa Drive toward the intersection of Palmetto Park Road when he swerved to the left, crossed over a grassy shoulder into the northbound lanes...
Police say man went on date with woman, stole her car, went to movie with other woman
Police say man went on date with woman, stole her car, went to movie with other woman

A Memphis man is accused of going out on a date with a woman, then stealing her car and using it to go out on a date to a drive-in movie with another woman.     » RELATED: Suspect in alleged stolen vehicle hits several cars in Atlanta -          Kelton Griffin...
Trump-owned house in Palm Beach available to rent for $100,000 a month
Trump-owned house in Palm Beach available to rent for $100,000 a month

The Palm Beach beachfront house belonging to President Donald Trump’s two eldest sons is up for rent — for $100,000 a month, according to the local multiple listing service. Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump two months ago paid their aunt, federal appeals Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, $18.25 million for her eight-bedroom house ...
9 members of one family among 17 killed in duck boat accident on lake in Branson, Missouri 
9 members of one family among 17 killed in duck boat accident on lake in Branson, Missouri 

A duck boat accident on Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri, killed 17 people Thursday night, including the boat’s driver and nine members of an Indiana family, according to authorities. Fourteen other people were injured. >> Read more trending news  Update 8:45 a.m. EDT July 21: The Stone County coroner confirmed to KSDK...
More Stories