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 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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