Woman charged with threatening Wisconsin lawmakers

Democratic Wisconsin Assembly members cheer during protests at the State Capitol Madison Feb. 18. AP

Democratic Wisconsin Assembly members cheer during protests at the State Capitol Madison Feb. 18.
AP

Updated: 12:13 p.m. EST

A 26-year-old woman is being charged with allegedly sending email threats to a handful of Wisconsin lawmakers during the state's contentious battle over collective bargaining rights earlier this month.

The woman, Katherine Windels, is being charged with two felony counts and two misdemeanor counts, for sending computer messages threatening injury or harm, and for propagating bomb scares.

According to a criminal complaint filed in the Dane County Circuit Court, Windels, under the alias "Lisa Patterson," first sent threatening emails to State Senator Robert Cowles on March 9, stating that "Because of your actions today and in t=e past couple of weeks I and the group of people that are working with me =ave decided that we've had enough. We feel that you and your republica= dictators have to die."  (Spelling errors appear as in original complaint provided to CBSNews.com.)

The email went on to outline a plan that involved "arriving at your house and=putting a nice little bullet in your head," as well as planting bombs "in various locations around =he areas in which we know that you frequent" - such as "your house, yo=r car, the state capitol, and well I won't tell you all of them becaus= that's just no fun."

In a second e-mail, sent by the same alias to 15 Wisconsin state Senators, Windels warns of having planted strategically-located bombs, and threatens, "you will be killed and your familes=will also be killed due to your actions in the last 8 weeks."

"Please explai= to them that this is because if we get rid of you and your families then =t will save the rights of 300,000 people and also be able to close the def=cit that you have created. I hope you have a good time in hell," says the e-mail, the subject line of which reads: "Atten: Death threat!!!! Bomb!!!!"

The woman, when questioned about the emails, said "I sent out emails that I was disgusted and very upset by what [Republican lawmakers] were doing," according to the complaint.

The report states that Windels told investigators she had not intended to follow through with her threats, and when questioned about a particular line in the email, she said, "I know I said that, but I don't know why I said that."

Union battles erupt nationwide after Wisconsin
Ohio bargaining limits prevail; unions vow fight
Judge blocks Wisconsin union collective bargaining law

According to the complaint, the two felony counts carry maximum penalties of three years and six months, and a fine of $10,000. The misdemeanors carry maximum penalties of 90 days in prison and $1,000 in fines.

According to Wisconsin's WKOW.com, Windels was also the subject of a police investigation last fall, when she apparently sent text messages (the content of which are not publicly available) to Lisa Patterson, the woman whose name she used to send e-mail threats to the Wisconsin lawmakers.

The Dane County District Attorney's office says Windel is not in custody. The office could not confirm when she was expected to appear in court for the recent charges.

Comments

CBSN Live

pop-out
Live Video

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.