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Botanist gets 27 months for Chicago threats

Published: Wednesday, April 30, 2014 3:19 p.m. CDT

CHICAGO — A federal judge has sentenced a Chicago botanist to more than two years in prison for mailing threatening letters to then-Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, among others.

Richard Hyerczyk was sentenced Wednesday to 27 months in prison. The 54-year-old lichen specialist sent the letters because he was upset Chicago police shot and killed a wild cougar in 2008. He pleaded guilty in January to one count of mailing a threatening communication. He also sent letters to police, schools and religious institutions.

Hyerczyk was ordered to start his term July 29 followed by three years of supervised release. He also must pay a $10,000 fine.

In one of his letters he told police to "prepare to die like the cougars you killed." The judge cited the "cold-blooded nature" of the threats.

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