Man sentenced 75 years for bomb threats, extortion
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A California man accused of making online threats to bomb two suburban Indianapolis high schools in addition to a slew of other crimes was sentenced Friday by a federal judge to 75 years in prison.
Buster Hernandez, 30, of Bakersfield, California, pleaded guilty last year to coercion and enticement of a minor, production of child pornography, and threats to kill, kidnap and injure minors.
Hernandez used the alias “Brian Kil” online in making threats targeting a teen girl in Plainfield, Indiana in late 2015, prosecutors alleged. His actions expanded into bomb threats that closed two high schools on Dec. 17, 2015, a Plainfield Walmart on Dec. 20, 2015, and the Shops at Perry Crossing in Plainfield the same day.
Hernandez was arrested in August 2017 after federal agents posed as a woman from Michigan.
“The defendant was unrelenting, the cycle was endless, and in many cases the abuse went on for years,” Acting U.S. Attorney John Childress said after the sentencing.
Hernandez was indicted for his crimes in 2017, with federal prosecutors later filing a superseding indictment that added sexual extortion and intimidation charges alleging he instructed his targets to kill themselves. according to court records.
The federal charges cover activity from at least 2012 to August 2017 and link Hernandez to hundreds of alleged victims, most minors. Court records claimed Hernandez used the internet to sexually extort hundreds of adult and minor victims in the United States and at least one foreign country.
“He took what was supposed to be the most pivotal years from my life. He stole them, he tried to destroy me, diminish me, and almost succeeded,” a young victim said during the hearing. “At the end of the day there are wounds that will never heal and psychological damage and trauma that will haunt me to my grave.”
Hernandez apologized to his victims before sentencing by U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt.
“Reading the texts, I just can’t believe that I’m the one who did it,” he said, seemingly choking up as he apologized. “But it was me who did it, and I take ownership of it.”
Pratt said the court did not give Hernandez a life sentence because he had been cooperating with the FBI to identify more victims.