United States v. Conaway, No. 11-3246 (7th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Days after a widely-publicized threat by a Florida pastor to burn 200 copies of the Quran on the 2010 anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, Conaway posted on Facebook his plans to burn the “holy quaran” and invited people to witness the event at his home address. Conaway then began making phone calls to an imam and government officials, repeating his threats to burn the Quran and threatening other violent acts. These calls culminated in a standoff at Conaway’s home, with response by more than 12 agencies and evacuation of the street. His threats, including a promise blow up the entire block, were bogus; a device strapped to his chest held squares of putty, not explosive C-4. He was sentenced to concurrent sentences of 60 months’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to making false threats to detonate an explosive device, 18 U.S.C. 1038(a)(1), and influencing a federal official by threat, 18 U.S.C. 115(a)(1)(B). The Seventh Circuit affirmed. The trial court “simply concluded that it was appropriate to assign more weight to the extraordinary nature of the crime and the need to protect the public” from Conaway’s escalating pattern of menacing behavior than to Conway’s claims of mental illness.