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

JUST IN: Boil water order in effect for the Village of Palm Springs
JUST IN: Boil water order in effect for the Village of Palm Springs

A precautionary boil water order is in effect for the Village of Palm Springs. During a routine sampling of the drinking water system, total coliform was found in some of the samples. Coliform are bacteria naturally found in the environment and can be an indicator that potentially dangerous bacteria is in the water. Residents are being advised to boil...
NEW: 3 cool, fun things in Lake Worth this weekend
NEW: 3 cool, fun things in Lake Worth this weekend

1. Street Painting Festival, Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m., downtown Lake Worth: More than 600 artists will use the asphalt as their canvas to change the streets of Lake Worth into an outdoor art gallery. The paintings – made only of chalk – remain until traffic returns to the streets and the tires act as giant erasers and the next rain...
Trump in Palm Beach: President criticizes FBI over handling of shooting suspect tip
Trump in Palm Beach: President criticizes FBI over handling of shooting suspect tip

UPDATE 11:59 p.m.: President Trump tweeted late Saturday that the FBI "missed all of the many signals" sent by the suspect in the Parkland school shooting. "This is not acceptable," he said. "They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign - there is no collusion. Get back to the...
National School Walkout planned in March to protest Parkland shooting
National School Walkout planned in March to protest Parkland shooting

Support continued to grow over the weekend for a planned March 14 National School Walkout protest in the aftermath of the Valentine’s Day school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 people dead. Organizers of the Women’s March announced the plans for a 17-minute walkout beginning at 10 a.m. on March 14, which will...
Riviera Beach Police officer injured in on-duty car crash
Riviera Beach Police officer injured in on-duty car crash

A Riviera Beach Police officer was taken to the hospital with serious injuries Saturday night after an on-duty car crash in the intersection of intersection of West Blue Heron Boulevard and U.S. 1, according to police officials. Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputies are still investigating the crash, which occurred just before 9 p.m. and involved...
More Stories