EUGENE, Ore. (KOIN) — A Eugene area man was sentenced to federal prison on Monday for mailing threatening communications to a former teacher whom he targeted in part because of her sexual orientation.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, 58-year-old Gary Franklin was sentenced to four years in federal prison and three years of supervised release.
“Mr. Franklin’s harassment of the victim in this case was hateful and downright disturbing,” Scott Erik Asphaug, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon, said. “Further, the bigoted and racist ideology he espoused and lauded have no place in our community. Nobody should have to live in fear of depraved individuals like Mr. Franklin.”
He added that mailing threatening communications is a serious federal crime and “will continue to be a top priority” for their office.
According to court documents, Franklin sent two threatening letters to a former community college professor of his whom he targeted in part because of her sexual orientation between December 2020 and May 2021.
The first letter contained a printout of what appeared to be a deceased, mutilated female, according to an announcement by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Investigators say the letter included handwritten wording above and below the image with racial and orientation slurs and stated, “What I’d like to do to you.”
“There is no way to undo the damage Gary Franklin did to the victim and her family with his hateful, repulsive, and threatening behavior,” Kieran L. Ramsey, the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon, stated. “The FBI hopes today’s prison sentence can provide them some sense of comfort. No one should ever be targeted or threatened because of who they are. This kind of cruel and hate-filled terror has no place in our community, and it won’t be tolerated.”
The second letter contained another photograph of a deceased, decapitated female in a black trunk, added the announcement. The handwritten wording around the image stated that the photograph represented Franklin’s fantasy of what he wanted to do to the victim.
A forensic analysis conducted by the Oregon State Police Laboratory found Franklin’s fingerprints on the first letter. In May 2021, the FBI subsequently executed a search warrant on Franklin’s Eugene residence, investigators said.
Agents found and seized body armor, a boot spike, multiple knives, collapsible batons, a monkey’s fist flail, a set of brass knuckles, a 12-gauge shotgun shell, metal chain mail and a black trunk like the one depicted in his second letter.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, agents also uncovered piles of literature and handbooks on death, dismemberment, murder, torture and sexually motivated killings.
As the investigation continued, authorities discovered evidence that Franklin was a white supremacist and may have been motivated by white supremacist and neo-Nazi ideologies. Open source and social media research revealed that Franklin was the administrator of a membership website called Aryan Folk.
Investigators also discovered a Twitter account for Aryan Folk with a bio stating, “I run a website for White Nationalist[s].” While searching Franklin’s residence, agents also discovered multiple photographs of Franklin with items and clothing bearing Nazi and white supremacist symbols.
On May 20, 2021, a federal grand jury in Eugene returned a three-count indictment charging Franklin with stalking and mailing threatening communications. On January 4, 2022, Franklin pleaded guilty to two counts of mailing threatening communications.
This case was investigated by the FBI and U.S. Postal Inspection Service. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon Adam E. Delph.
Anyone with information about real or perceived threats of violence should call the FBI at (503) 224-4181 or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov. For immediate threats to life and safety, police ask you to call 911.