Animal activist sent to jail for threats

February 3, 2009 12:45:04 PM PST
A 33-year-old man was sentenced in San Mateo County Superior Court on Monday to six months in county jail and three years' probation for threatening two scientists who perform research on animals, a deputy district attorney said today.

Justin Bhagat Thind, a Capitola resident, accepted a plea deal in December for calling the University of California at San Francisco researchers, both San Mateo County residents, incessantly for a week in September 2007, Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

Thind initially pleaded not guilty Oct. 1 to two counts of stalking, two counts of felony threats, one count of threatening a school employee and one count of obscene or threatening phone calls.

He changed his plea to no contest Dec. 16, after the prosecution offered him the lesser charges of threatening a public official, a felony, and making threatening phone calls, a misdemeanor, Wagstaffe said.

From Sept. 6, 2007, to Sept. 10, 2007, Thind called the researchers "day and night," to the point where they felt threatened, Wagstaffe said.

He said he would make the researchers suffer the same way they made the animals suffer, Wagstaffe said.

In the months that followed, the researchers said they felt "insecure," and alerted campus police, Wagstaffe said.

Phone records tied the calls to Thind's cell phone, and he was arrested on July 6, 2008.

Thind must begin his jail sentence by May 2, Wagstaffe said.