A Bangor woman is facing federal charges for allegedly making death threats against Sen. Susan Collins.

Katrina F. Preble, 56, of Bangor made the threats in a series of “rambling” voicemail messages left at Collins’ Bangor and Washington, D.C. offices, according to an affidavit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Bangor. The eight messages were left after the Nov. 3 election, in which Collins defeated Democratic challenger Sara Gideon.

Preble, who was arrested Monday by Bangor police and federal agents, has been charged with two federal counts of making threats across interstate lines, each punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. The charges are federal because the servers where the voicemail messages were stored are located outside Maine.

The affidavit states that Preble left a total of eight messages on two separate occasions. In one, Preble allegedly threatened to decapitate Collins.

Andrew McCormack, the federal prosecutor assigned to the case by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said in a telephone interview that Preble will make her initial court appearance by video Wednesday morning in Bangor. Preble’s attorney, public defender James Nixon, could not be reached Monday evening.

On her Facebook page, Preble describes herself as married and a grandmother. Preble has a brief criminal record; she pleaded guilty in April 2016 to violating a protection from abuse order in Hancock County, according to state records. She was jailed 48 hours.

Michael Verhar, a special agent with the FBI, filed the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint against Preble. It says Preble left two voicemail messages at Collins’ Bangor office on Nov. 6.

“The two voicemails are rambling in nature and insult Susan Collins by name calling and other accusations,” the affidavit states. “On three separate occasions, the caller states explicitly that she will kill Susan Collins. In addition, the caller states, ‘I’m going to shoot you in the (expletive) face, Susan.’ ”

Verhar and a Bangor police officer went to Preble’s home in Bangor on Nov. 6 to interview her, but did not arrest her. “She was hostile and generally uncooperative throughout the interview,” according to the affidavit. Verhar said Preble claimed Collins had threatened her life.

“Ms. Preble said she was not a threat to Senator Collins and she had the right to tell Senator Collins that she would defend herself with deadly force,” according to the affidavit.

Preble left six additional messages containing threats at Collins’ Washington, D.C., office on Nov. 11, the affidavit says.  In one, Preble says “We the people are going to put you in front of the firing squads, stretch you by the neck.  Decapitate you,” the affidavit says.

Verhar concluded that there was probable cause to believe Preble transmitted threats of violence across interstate lines – a federal crime.

Collins’ spokesman Christopher Knight praised authorities’ handling of the investigation.

“Senator Collins and her husband, Tom Daffron, are grateful for the professionalism and quick response of local, state, and federal law enforcement officers,” Knight said in a statement.

Last month, a Burlington, Maine, woman was sentenced in federal court in Bangor after she was convicted of mailing an anthrax threat to Collins two years ago.

U.S. District Judge Lance Walker sentenced Suzanne Muscara to 30 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release. A federal jury found Muscara, 38, guilty of mailing a threatening communication following a one-day trial in November 2019.

According to evidence presented at trial, Muscara mailed a letter containing a white powder to Collins’ Bangor address in October 2018. The letter included a handwritten note indicating that the powder was anthrax.

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: