Man who threatened Stupak gets house arrest

BAY CITY (AP) -- A man who threatened to paint Michigan's Mackinac Bridge with the blood of a congressman was sentenced last Thursday to six months of home detention and ordered to pay $47,000.

Russell Hesch, 74, dodged a possible prison sentence. During the health-care debate of 2010, he sent a letter threatening U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak and his family if the Michigan Democrat supported President Barack Obama's plan.

"I deeply regret this serious fallacy in judgment that allowed me to commit the offense I did commit," Hesch told a judge.

Stupak was not physically harmed. He voted in favor of the health-care law and didn't seek re-election in 2010.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Ludington said Hesch was a "very good man" who made a "very grave error." In a court filing, defense attorney David Cripps said the West Branch man has dementia and was drinking alcohol when he composed the threat. Hesch spent two decades in the U.S. military and has two master's degrees.

"I think the judge fashioned an excellent sentence," Cripps told The Associated Press.

In court, Assistant U.S. Attorney Janet Parker disputed claims of Hesch's dementia and said his military service was irrelevant, reported.

Much of the $47,000 in financial penalties will be restitution to the U.S. Capitol police for security.

Published: Mon, Feb 6, 2012