PITTSBURGH â" A former western Pennsylvania dentist was sentenced Wednesday to 18 months in prison for threatening to kill an FBI agent because the mentally ill defendant believes the government is thwarting his efforts to have Microsoft founder Bill Gates arrested for computer hacking and other fanciful wrongs.
"He's hacking the Internet beyond belief," Anthony Dinozzi, 45, insisted when Senior U.S. District Judge Donetta Ambrose asked Dinozzi if he wanted to speak before he was sentenced. "I can prove all this and no one will listen to me. My life is on the line, your honor."
Dinozzi's federal public defender, Tara Allen, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Margaret Picking declined to comment on Dinozzi's mental illness or how he was found competent to plead guilty and be sentenced, despite his ongoing delusions.
On Wednesday, Dinozzi seemed to understand that he was being sentenced and why, though he asked Ambrose to include a notation on her sentencing order that he's sincere in his beliefs.
"Whatever you give me, just please put on the note that I'm not lying," Dinozzi said.
Dinozzi was arrested in January after he left an obscenity-laced voicemail message for Gregory Heeb, an FBI agent in Pittsburgh. Among other things, Dinozzi threatened to kill Heeb, have the Hell's Angels "get" Heeb and to have the agent imprisoned after which Dinozzi would pay inmates to "torture you alive."
Dinozzi left the message because he was upset that Heeb had called Dinozzi's mother to let her know that her son had once again made threatening calls to a federal judge in Washington state, to the FBI office in Seattle and to police in Medina, Wash., the suburb where Gates lives.
Heeb originally encountered Dinozzi at Pittsburgh International Airport in February 2011. Dinozzi was claiming to be a federal marshal and wanted to board a flight to Seattle, claiming his ticket had been booked by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. At the time, Dinozzi claimed Gates was sending waves through Dinozzi's computer that were harming his brain.
Dinozzi wasn't arrested and was allowed to leave the airport with a warning. Days later, he called to apologize to Heeb and say he was being treated for mental illness. When the calls to the Washington authorities resumed months later, Heeb called Dinozzi's mother, who has been cooperative in trying to get her son mental health treatment.
Dinozzi told the judge that's what set him off and prompted him to threaten Heeb in January.
"He called my home and made my mom furious," Dinozzi said. "I'm 45 years old. He didn't have to call my mom."
Ambrose said she wasn't entirely happy to be sentencing Dinozzi, but told him it was necessary for him to understand the seriousness of his actions.
"This poses a real puzzle. There you were with all the promise in the world," Ambrose said of his education. "It is sad for me to see that is gone from your life."
"My sentence has to deter you from acting this way in the future."