A Florida man who referred to himself as an "Antifa hunter" was sentenced to more than three years in prison Monday for making racially motivated threats and cyberstalking in the wake of the 2017 United the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Daniel McMahon, 32, pleaded guilty in April to federal charges of cyberstalking and racially motivated threats to interfere with an election, the US Attorney's Office for the Western District of Virginia said in a statement Monday.
"This defendant weaponized social media to threaten and intimidate his perceived political enemies and propagate a violent white-supremacist ideology," said US Attorney Thomas Cullen. "Because his online activity crossed the boundary between protected First Amendment expression and unlawful threats and harassment, he will spend considerable time in federal prison."
McMahon's attorney declined to comment Tuesday when contacted by CNN.
McMahon was arrested a year ago after making posts on social media accounts threatening Don Gathers, a Black community activist in Charlottesville who had chaired the city commission that recommended removing Confederate monuments in 2016.
According to the prosecution's sentencing memorandum, McMahon posted threats on the social network Gab, in which he referred to Gathers as a terrorist and uses a racial slur.
"I will do everything in my power to stop him from getting elected for his attack on my people," McMahon wrote in one of the posts, "& I do mean everything."
Prosecutors said McMahon linked to a video from the 2017 Charlottesville rally, in which Gathers can be seen "swinging a stick" during a "melee instigated by the Rise Above Movement," a California-based White supremacist group.
McMahon also posted his support for "a diversity of tactics" to keep Gathers from the city council seat.
"His candidacy (for a city council seat in Charlottesville) is a threat to national security and every White man on Earth," McMahon posted on Gab. "I am not (expletive) around. He must not be allowed to get elected."
The FBI made Gathers aware of the threats on January 8, 2019, the prosecution's sentencing memo says. Gathers dropped out of the race the same day.
"It brings some bit of sanity back to life," Gathers told CNN on Tuesday when asked about McMahon's sentence. "I can't even say (it brings) closure, because the door is still ajar."
"You hope that it's over, but as long as there are people out there with that mindset, it will continue," Gathers said. "How did we get to a point where an individual some 800 miles away from here wants to inject himself into a city council campaign?"
In addition to threatening Gathers, McMahon pleaded guilty to cyberstalking an unidentified woman and threatening her severely autistic daughter. He believed the woman, who had actively countered White nationalist protests, was a member of Antifa and he attempted to extort her for information on another suspected Antifa member, the prosecution's sentencing memo says.
McMahon reached out to the woman, listed in court records as "Victim 2," over Facebook Messenger and asked her to identify a photo of the other woman. When she refused, he described sexual acts he wished to perform to the woman's minor daughter.
"Oh did I strike a nerve?" McMahon wrote after Victim 2 called him a "monster."
"Maybe you should have put your daughter before your Antifa terrorism?" McMahon continued.
McMahon -- who characterized himself as an "Antifa hunter" on social media -- also mocked the child's self-soothing behavior, according to court records, and threatened to post photos of her to Gab.
"I have no reason to show you any sort of mercy," McMahon wrote. "Your wrist flapping daughter is fair game."
McMahon was sentenced to 41 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release, during which he'll be barred from using internet-capable devices without court approval, the US Attorney's Office said.
McMahon's attorneys had requested a term of 18 months, in part because they said he has an untreated mental health diagnosis and "significant" alcohol addiction.