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January 19, 2017

New Jersey man charged with making death threat against Obama on social media

A former New Jersey resident is facing federal charges after allegedly issuing deaths threats against President Barack Obama on social media, authorities said.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced Thursday that William Peterman, Jr., formerly of Medford Lakes in Burlington County but now lives in Beaufort, South Carolina, was arrested for posting the threatening messages on Facebook.

Authorities said Peterman was charged after posting on Jan. 10, the night of Obama's farewell address, that he "will kill" the president, who was referred to as "President Barack Hussein Obama II" in an incoherent message. A month earlier, Peterman posted that he had received "permission to kill" the president.

“This case and the resulting indictment demonstrates the Secret Service’s proactive stance investigating threats against those we are sworn to protect,” said James Henry, special agent in charge of the U.S. Secret Service field office in Philadelphia.

Federal prosecutors noted that the widespread use of social media has led to increased online threats, but law enforcement agencies take each threat seriously.

If convicted, Peterman faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, a period of supervised release and a $100 special assessment.