Prison Term for Threats Informed by ‘Cable Guy’

     CHICAGO (CN) – The 7th Circuit cited the stalker plot of the 1996 film “The Cable Guy” in affirming the two-year sentence for a serviceman who pursued a former client for roughly two decades.
     “Taking an unfortunate frame from the 1996 movie The Cable Guy, Brian Lemke met a woman while working as a serviceman in her home, pursued her, and eventually left threatening telephone messages for her,” the federal appeals court summarized.
     Lemke serviced the Lockport, Ill., home of Barbara Ferry and her husband from 1993 to 2000 without incident. But when Lemke offered to trade services for a dinner date, she stopped using him and filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.
     Ferry did not hear from Lemke for several years as she divorced and moved to Chicago, but things escalated in June 2008 when Lemke left seven bizarre and harassing voicemails for Ferry on her home phone.
     A friend of Ferry’s, Jeffrey Brown, then called Lemke and left a threatening message to stop the calls. Lemke instead turned his sights on Brown, but he ultimately left several threatening messages on the answering machine of a different man with the same name. When the unrelated Brown received a death threat from Lemke in August 2008, he called an attorney, the police and the FBI.
     Even after an FBI agent informed Lemke that he had been contacting the wrong person, he continued to make calls and was seen at Ferry’s place of employment.
     When the FBI eventually apprehended Lemke at his home, he was found with a revolver under his shirt. The revolver was packed with hollow-point bullets, which are designed to expand and disrupt more tissue on impact. Lemke also had a hand-drawn map of Ferry’s apartment and notes about various Jerry Browns,
     Lemke faced 33 to 41 months in prison after a jury convicted him of leaving threatening messages, but the U.S. District Judge Blanch Manning ultimately assigned a below-guidelines sentence of 24 months.
     He appealed, arguing that the sentence was still too high, but the 7th Circuit was unsympathetic.
     “He asserts that probation would be a sufficiently humiliating punishment because he is an upstanding citizen in his community,” Wood wrote for a three-judge panel. “The problem is that these points at best suggest that the District Court might also have selected a lesser sentence; they say nothing about whether the sentence the court imposed is unreasonable.”

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