A Manteca man found guilty of multiple counts of felony threats for threatening staff members at the office of U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, last year was sentenced to seven years, eight months state prison Thursday, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office.
In custody on $150,000 bail, Ronald Joseph Lafaye, 54, received 972 days credit for time served. An FBI agent at the hearing allegedly said Lafaye would be taken into custody to face federal charges for making similar threats toward a Bay Area Veterans Affairs hospital, according to prosecutors.
Having spoken with a staff member at Speier’s office on the phone in December of 2017, Lafaye is said to have left 12 voicemails with her office March 19, 2018. Including complaints about the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and police officers, disparaging remarks about her staff members and threats to kill and harm staff members, the voicemails also contained claims Lafaye was assaulted in the past while a witness was watching, according to prosecutors.
Lafaye, who identified himself in some of the voicemails, is also to have said he had no problem with Speier and prayed for her when he was in school. With a previous record for making criminal threats, Lafaye was extradited from Oregon where he was found at a Days Inn to face charges, according to prosecutors.
In the third day of his court trial, which ended June 21, a forensic psychologist called by Lafaye’s defense attorney testified that Lafaye suffers from borderline personality disorder and alcohol abuse and threats such as the ones he made last year are symptoms of the disorder, according to prosecutors.
District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe commended Judge Nancy Fineman for imposing a lengthy prison term Thursday, noting efforts to rehabilitate Lafaye have clearly failed since he has a prior conviction for the same charge.
“It’s a good sentence and I’m pleased with the outcome,” he said.
Lafaye’s defense attorney Jeff Jackson could not be immediately reached for comment.