Worcester Telegram & Gazette Archives Previous Page Advanced Search Online Archives Full Story Worcester Telegram & Gazette (MA) Northboro man out on bail in threat case February 9, 2006 Section: LOCAL NEWS Page: B1 By Patricia J. James MARLBORO - The Northboro man facing charges in Worcester Central District Court after allegedly threatening a judge was released yesterday on $20,000 cash bail set by a Marlboro District Court judge, where he is accused of similarly threatening a police officer. Paul T. Pechonis, 46, of 17 Milk Porridge Circle, Northboro, was arraigned in Marlboro District Court yesterday on a charge of threatening to commit a crime (murder) against Marlboro Police Officer James P. Gough. He allegedly posted photos of himself carrying weapons and the words "Death to Pig Gough" on a Web site, which according to police records was authored by Mr. Pechonis. In a pending case in Worcester, Mr. Pechonis is alleged to have called for the "resignation or execution" of Westboro District Court's presiding justice, Paul S. Waickowski, on another Web site also allegedly authored by him. Before bail was set yesterday, Mr. Pechonis said outside the courtroom that he denies "being the author of any and all of those things," and that "it's a question of access," explaining others have access to the Web sites. Mr. Pechonis had filed a motion to dismiss before his arraignment, citing several reasons, including that the Web site cannot be proved to be his and that the thoughts expressed on the site are not threats. Judge Thomas F. Sullivan Jr. said he could not file such a motion before an arraignment and advised him to let his lawyer know about the motion. Mr. Pechonis was represented yesterday by court-appointed lawyer David Kapelner, but said he would hire Peter E. Padula, the same lawyer representing him in the Worcester case, for the more recent case. Assistant Middlesex District Attorney David C. Belger recommended bail be set at $500, citing what he said was Mr. Pechonis' three-page criminal record and two restraining orders. He recommended Mr. Pechonis be ordered to surrender any firearms, stay away from Officer Gough, not be allowed to have any firearms or weapons, not commit any federal, state or local crime, and refrain from use of alcohol and drugs. According to court documents, threatening to commit a crime is considered a misdemeanor. Mr. Kapelner said he agreed with the $500 cash bail, but Judge Sullivan said he was "considering much more than that," stating he was concerned with the facts and calling the matter "serious business." According to a police report, the Marlboro Police Department became aware of one of the Web sites in early September after Mr. Pechonis allegedly sent a link to the site, which contained the threat against Officer Gough, via e-mail to Police Chief Mark F. Leonard. According to the report, Mr. Pechonis told Marlboro Police Capt. Paul Valianti during a Sept. 16 phone conversation that "he took the stuff down and it was a joke and he did not mean anyone any harm." After coming to the police station for an interview the same day, Mr. Pechonis allegedly said he posted some of the content on the Web site, including pictures of his family and pages with humorous content, according to the report. He also allegedly said he posted material about Officer Gough and that it was intended to be a joke. Mr. Pechonis also allegedly told police the guns in the pictures were not real. Mr. Pechonis, who yesterday offered business cards featuring the Web site's address, also allegedly told Capt. Valianti he has no issue with Officer Gough other than that he threatened his son's life. According to a citizen complaint of police misconduct form filed July 8 by Mr. Pechonis' son, Jared Pechonis, the young man was pulled over by Officer Gough and said he felt threatened and harassed by the police officer. Jared Pechonis also wrote in the complaint he was pulled over six weeks before for no reason and that the police officer, whom he believed to be Officer Gough, said he would put a gun to his head if he did not have his hands on the wheel and look forward if he was to be pulled over again by the officer. According to court documents, Mr. Pechonis allegedly sent several e-mails to Chief Leonard asking him to look into the matter regarding his son's complaint and containing the link to the Web site. Capt. Valianti wrote in his report that based on Mr. Pechonis' statements during the September interview, "it is clear that he is trying to threaten Officer James Gough through this Web site. The threat was clearly communicated through his e-mails to the Chief of Police ... The words alone are themselves threatening. However, coupled with photos of him holding what appears to be firearms and edged weapons along with threats to kill Officer Gough, his intent is clear." During yesterday's arraignment, Mr. Kapelner argued that Mr. Pechonis had already posted bail on charges stemming from similar circumstances, and that the two cases may be consolidated at some time and be handled in Worcester. Mr. Pechonis was released on $5,000 cash bail after arraignment in Westboro District Court on the charge he threatened to murder Judge Waickowski before his case was continued to Central District Court. According to court records related to that case, one of the Web sites made references to a Westboro District Court civil hearing in which Mr. Pechonis' paycheck was garnisheed for money owed to a credit card account. According to the records, Mr. Pechonis allegedly blamed Judge Waickowski for the order, but state police investigators found it was Judge Vito A. Virzi who presided over the case. Mr. Kapelner yesterday asked for a "reasonable amount of bail," adding that Mr. Pechonis has no firearms, does not drink alcohol and would be able to adhere to all the conditions recommended by Mr. Belger. After bail was set at $20,000, Mr. Pechonis said after the arraignment, "It's a misdemeanor and an outrage." The case was continued to Feb. 24.
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