The man who sent white powder to two Boulder Jewish organizations last year — forcing evacuations and the quarantining of several employees — learned last week that he would avoid prison for his crime.
After pleading guilty in March to felony menacing and using a false chemical or biological weapon, Jeffrey Klinkel was sentenced on July 15 to a year’s work release at the Boulder County Jail, four years of probation, 200 hours of community service and participation in a mental health program, the Boulder Daily Camera has reported.
The main component of Klinkel’s sentence means that he will have to spend at least a year working by day and spending his nights in the county jail.
Klinkel’s fingerprints were found on correspondence mailed to the Boulder Jewish Community Center and Congregation Har Hashem in April, 2015. The letters contained semi-rational notes and a white powder later found to be corn or potato starch.
The suspect could have faced five years in prison had his case gone to trial and he was found guilty.
According to the Camera, Klinkel’s attorney Steven Louth said his client suffered from mental illness and had become a believer in various conspiracy theories, including the charge that the Israeli government was responsible for the 9/11 attacks.
Klinkel, whose arrest record includes charges for assault, harassment, burglary, trespassing and fraud, told the judge last week that he was not anti-Semitic but acknowledged that he had become obsessed with conspiracy theories.
He also put partial blame for his actions last year on a black-out caused by the sedative Ambien.
Jonathan Lev, executive director of the Boulder JCC, one of Klinkel’s white powder targets, did not express anger at the defendant’s relatively light sentence.
In a joint statement with board president Paula Pollachek released last weekend, Lev wrote that the sentence handed down on July 15 “allows for continued mental health services while having an alternative jail sentence.”
As he has done several times since the incident took place, Lev thanked Boulder law enforcement officials and Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett and Asst. DA Ryan Brackley for their “transparent, communicative and supportive” handling of the case.
“We are also very grateful to the many individuals and institutions that reached out to us with words of support during this entire time,” Lev and Pollachek wrote.
“As always, the safety and well-being of our community is our highest priority, and we remain committed to maintaining the highest level of safety and security at the Boulder JCC.”
Chris Leppek may be reached at IJNEWS@aol.com