Tbnewswatch Local News
2014-01-17 at 3:00PM

Risk assessment

By tbnewswatch.com

A man guilty of sending a series of threatening letters had his sentencing delayed after the court ordered furthered risk assessment.

Eric Wirkkala, 46, pleaded guilty Nov. 25, 2013 to 16 counts of uttering threats for 65 letters he sent between July 2012 and October 2013 to police, politicians, businesses, media outlets, financial institutions, churches, the military, advocacy groups and individuals.

Wirkkala appeared in provincial court Friday for a sentencing hearing, but the case will continue in March after further risk assessment has been completed to determine Wirkkala's potential threat to harm others.

Assistant Crown attorney Robert Kozak asked for 12 months incarceration followed by three years of probation. He acknowledged Wirkkala's admission of guilt and absence of a prior criminal record as mitigating factors.

Defense lawyer David Young asked the judge to include Wirkkala's time served in the sentence and also asked for three years probation.

Wirkkala was originally charged with 21 counts, but in November the charges were amended and amalgamated to 16 counts.

Kozak said each letter included a death threat from poisonings to bombings. Seventeen of those letters were sent to the Thunder Bay Police Service.

The letters also include references to surveillance and of the letters being drafted on behalf of a criminal organization. In some letters, Wirkkala referenced victims' loved ones that had passed away and claimed those deaths were the work of this organization.

There was no apparent motive to have a dispute with any of the victims and Kozak said these people had no connection with Wirkkala.

Kozak said the language used is hurtful and it is an offence motivated by hate.

The time period in which the letters was sent created a "prolonged reign of terror," said Kozak.
Current River ward Coun. Andrew Foulds read his victim impact statement to the court Friday morning and said he needed to look Wirkkala in the eye and tell him what he did to him and his family.

City council received threats from Wirkkala but eventually specific threats of violence and murder were directed at Foulds; the councillor also received one letter at his house, which he called a total invasion.

An emotional Foulds addressed Wirkkala telling him he needed to understand what he did and how angry Foulds was with him.

He became so angry, he was filled with the same rage and hatred Wirkkala's letters spewed.
Foulds said he initially wanted to see Wirkkala locked up and the key thrown away, but now feels he can forgive.

"You need help," he said. "You need a lot of help and support."

"What you did was not normal."



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