A Chicago man was found guilty Thursday of making threatening phone calls to a state representative in 2013.
Stephen S. Bona, 52, of the 900 block of West Roscoe was found guilty of two felony counts of threatening a public official, according to a statement from the DuPage County state’s attorney’s office.
At 9:42 a.m. on March 22, 2013, Bona called State Rep. Jeanne Ives’ office and left a threatening message, and he was charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct, according to the statement.
Three days later, on March 25, a second threatening phone call was made to Ives’ office, and the state’s attorney’s office upgraded the charges to threatening a public official. That day, an arrest warrant was issued for Bona and Wheaton police took him into custdoy.
In one of the messages, Bona told Ives, “We know where you live,” “There’s no longer a ban on assault weapons,” and “Think about that before you speak next time,” according to the statement.
The jury deliberated for about one-and-a-half hours after a two-day trial, according to the statement.
“The First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees everyone the right to free speech,” DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said in the statement.
“What the First Amendment does not do however, is to allow free speech to digress into threats against public employees or elected officials. These men and women who have chosen public service must be allowed to do their jobs without having to worry about their personal safety or the safety of their families. Today, a jury agreed and found that Mr. Bona did indeed threaten Representative Ives. His remarks crossed the line between protected speech and threats and for that he must be held responsible,” Berlin said.
Bona faces up to five years in prison for each count. He is next scheduled to appear in court April 29.