Bart Stupak threat: Letter sent from CO cites painting bridge with congressman's blood

Update, 4:40 p.m.: David Hesch appeared in court this afternoon. Get the details of what happened below.

A fifty-year-old Loveland man has been arrested for mailing a nutso letter written by his (apparently) nutso father to Michigan Congressman Bart Stupak.

It threatens to paint a local bridge red with his blood and encourages the congressman to follow in the footsteps of his son, Bart Jr., who committed suicide in 2000.

Russell Hesch, 73, of West Branch, Michigan, confessed to writing the letter, which also includes a menacing reference to the Showtime drama Dexter, about a serial killer. According to a police affidavit included in the criminal complaint (read it here), Hesch told the cops that he e-mailed the letter to his son, David Hesch, with instructions to mail it from Denver "so it would not come back to either Russell or David."

Despite the Heschs' master plan -- and the fact that Russell simply signed the letter "The Devil within Us" -- it didn't take the cops long to come up with the culprit.

Stupak staffers told the police that the elder Hesch has been a frequent critic of the congressman, a pro-life Democrat who recently drew the ire of both the right and the left when he voted for Obama's health care bill after getting a promise from the president that no public money would be used to pay for abortions. Stupak's vote was the subject of the letter, though it quickly veered off topic.

Here's an excerpt from the scariest part:

I will paint the Mackinaw Bridge with the blood of you and your family members. I will not say when and with who but I will save your blood for the high towers toward the end of this project. You will live long enough to truly experience the unfortunate but definite consequences of your decision. You will watch your world slowly crumble and erode around you. Things that used to be important won't seem so important anymore.

Maybe you will be the main character of a story that parents tell their children as they cross the bridge decades from now. The red paint of Bart Stupak!

While Colorado's David Hesch seems to have played a minimal role in the crime -- including addressing the envelope in perfect fourth-grade print -- his actions were still unwise. He's in federal court this afternoon, being advised of the charges against him; we'll update this blog with the outcome of his hearing later today.

In the meantime, a lesson: If your dad e-mails you a crazy letter threatening the life of an elected official and asks you to mail it for him, lie and say the e-mail got caught in your spam filter. If he sends it again, lie and say your computer blew up. It sure beats the possibility of spending five years in jail.

To read a press release on the Hesches from the U.S. Attorney's Office, click here.

Update, 4:40 p.m.: In federal court in Denver this afternoon, David Hesch was charged with conspiring to threaten to assault, kidnap or murder a United States official in connection with his official duties. In his case, that means mailing a letter that threatens to paint a bridge red with Stupak's blood because of his vote for the health care bill.

According to Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Denver, Hesch will be back in court on Thursday at 10 a.m. A judge will decide whether there's enough evidence against him to proceed with the case. If there is, the judge will also decide if he's eligible for bond and whether to extradite him to Detroit, where his father is charged with the same thing.

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Melanie Asmar is a staff writer for Westword. She joined the paper in 2009 and has won awards for her stories about education, immigration and epic legal battles. Got a tip? She'd love to hear it.
Contact: Melanie Asmar

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