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Man Sentenced to Nearly Four Years for Bomb Threats Made Aboard Amtrak Train
A man unhappy with the food service on Amtrak was sentenced to nearly four years in prison for making calls from his cell phone saying there was a bomb on the train he was riding.
"I apologize for the actions that I did and I'm sorry," Michael Conwill, 35, of Anchorage, Alaska, told U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb before she sentenced him Tuesday. He was also ordered to pay more than $28,000 to Amtrak to cover its costs.
Conwill had pleaded guilty in August to making the threats July 6, saying he was angry at being served food that contained hot peppers. He said they caused an allergic reaction.
The judge sentenced Conwill to three years and 10 months in prison - the upper limit under sentencing guidelines - for what she called a "stupid, stupid decision."
The five calls came as the train, en route from Seattle, rolled through Sauk and Juneau counties. It was stopped in Portage and passengers were taken to a school for several hours while the train was searched. No bombs were found.
Conwill was arrested when the train arrived in Chicago, after the FBI traced the calls to his cell phone, authorities said.
Defense attorney Joseph Sommers had asked that Conwill receive a sentence at the lower end of federal guidelines, which range from 37 to 46 months.
"It's a heck of a lot to pay for a crime that was only a threat," he said.
The judge ordered Conwill to undergo a mental health evaluation in prison and receive counseling during three years of supervised release after his prison term.