Career criminal from Mass. sentenced to over 7 years in prison for threatening interracial couple

BOSTON — A Massachusetts resident was sentenced to nearly a decade in prison on Monday for harassing an interracial couple on social media he didn’t know in 2021.

48-year-old Stephen DeBerardinis of both Boston and Dedham was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Allison D. Burroughs to 90 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release.

He previously pleaded guilty to charges related to the threatening and harassment of the couple back in March.

According to Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy, DeBerardinis used Facebook messenger to send racist and threatening messages to an interracial couple, a Black man and a white woman, he wasn’t Facebook friends with.

Court documents say the messages included vulgar racial epitaphs and profanities along with pictures of brass knuckles saying “SNITCHES GET STITCHES” if the couple called the cops. His personal Facebook page was also littered with racist rhetoric, according to officials.

A subsequent investigation showed DeBerardinis was arrested more than 100 times in 24 years, including prior state convictions for threats, intimidation, false reports of a crime, impersonation of a police officer, and larceny, among other crimes.

Authorities found over 70 knives, 22 brass knuckles, swords, bullets, black powder for guns, stun guns, rifles and a number of other weapons after searching his home.

“The toxic brew of racist hate, threats of violence and use of social media to amplify vile and violent attitudes is a corrosive danger to every law-abiding member of our community,” Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy said. “This defendant’s horrifying and vicious threats were not only imperiled the safety and well-being of the victims here, but they were also a broadside attack on the values of equality and respect that our nation upholds. This office is deeply grateful for the victims’ courage to report this incident to law enforcement and assist us in prosecuting this important case,”

“Stephen DeBerardinis is a career criminal with multiple felony convictions who continued to demonstrate a blatant disregard for the law by sending a series of horribly racist, hate-motivated threats of brutal violence to an interracial couple he had never met,” said Jodi Cohen, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division.

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