A Florida man was sentenced to a year-and-a-half in prison for making racist threats to a Forest Hills attorney whose client, a Wake Forest University assistant basketball coach, was convicted in the 2018 fatal assault of a tourist in Long Island City.
Michael Feeney, 61, a retiree from Palm City, was arrested in October 2020 after he left a voicemail for Forest Hills criminal defense attorney Christopher Renfroe at his Queens Boulevard offices on July 24, 2020, one day after his client Jamill Jones was sentenced in Queens Criminal Court for punching Sandor Szabo one time in the head following a traffic accident. Szabo fell to the roadway striking his head on the pavement. The victim never regained consciousness and died two days later at an area hospital.
Jones was found guilty of assault in February 2020 after a week-long bench trial and sentenced to three years probation, 1,500 hours of community service and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine. Less than 24 hours after the sentence was handed down, a voicemail was left at the offices of Renfroe, Driscoll and Foster from Feeney telling Renfroe his client Jones should hire a lot of security, “because we know where everyone in his family members live” and “we will execute that n*****s family. They will be hunted down and f*****g beaten to death.” Subpoenaed phone records showed the voicemail was left by a caller using a phone number registered to Silvana Feeney, the wife of the defendant Michael Feeney, according to court documents.
Feeney was enraged that Jones, who is Black, punched a white man causing his death. In the voicemail, Feeney also said that the “judge made it perfectly clear,” “we can beat him to death and get probation and community service.”
In addition to the threats made to Jones, Feeney also threatened Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in a voicemail left at her office on the same day. In that message, Feeney said that “She should be lynched and should be swinging from a f*****g tree” and “we are going to pray that someone cuts her head off.” The voicemail also referred to AOC using racial epithets and other derogatory terms, according to court documents.
During his trial before Federal Judge William F, Kuntz III in Brooklyn federal court, prosecutors also presented evidence of Feeney leaving racist voicemails for the San Francisco 49ers for flying a Black Lives Matter flag. A call was made from Feeney’s number telling a front office assistant, “We have a list of employees and everyone is subject to beat downs on a regular basis every time they walk out of that building and then hopefully everyone there will get COVID and die for supporting a terrorist group.”
Prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District surmised that “the language the defendant used on these threatening calls was disgusting, racially motivated, and caused real fear in the people who heard the call, which was the defendant’s intent,” and they asked for a sentence of 12 to 18 months in prison.
Judge Kunstler sentenced Feeney to 18 months in prison.