Area woman gets reduced sentence in threat case

A Lassellsville woman told a federal judge she was truly sorry for causing fear and was eager to return home to her family before she was sentenced Thursday to a reduced prison term for sending white powder and threatening letters to a U.S. senator, the Massachusetts attorney general and two public justice facilities.

Roberta Cicora, 58, was sentenced Thursday by U.S. District Judge Michael A. Ponsor in Springfield, Mass., to 27 months in prison and $4,630 in restitution to Massachusetts, whose HAZMAT crews responded to her threats received by the offices of U.S. Sen. Scott R. Brown, R-Mass., Attorney General Martha Coakley, U.S. District Court in Greenfield and the Franklin County House of Corrections.

She was facing 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine in exchange for her guilty plea, which she entered Sept. 27. Ponsor sentenced her on the low end of federal sentencing guidelines, opting against supervised release after her prison term, speculating she could be a nightmare for a probation officer, according to the Springfield Republican.

Cicora mailed the letters laced with coffee creamer in May 2011, telling The Leader-Herald after her arrest she was unhappy with how Massachusetts officials had treated her boyfriend, who had been in relationship with a woman who later accused him of domestic abuse.

Cicora was released without bail after she was indicted and arrested in September 2011, but she was jailed in August 2012 after failing drug tests and indicating she wouldn’t check in with her pretrial services officer. Before leaving the courtroom, she pulled a sharp cutting tool from her bra and began slashing her arms, according to The Republican.

Court officials believe it was the blade to an X-Acto knife that had been concealed in her purse, the newspaper said.

Cicora’s court-appointed attorney, Lori Levinson, asked the court for probation, saying in a presentencing memo that Cicora’s letters didn’t contain threats and didn’t justify a near-$29,000 annual cost to taxpayers that comes with incarceration.

“As for whether a sentence of time served constitutes just punishment for the offense, for a 58- year-old first-time offender under the circumstances of this case, to have spent five months behind bars is more than sufficient,” she said in the memo.

She said Cicora has already taken advantage of several programs while incarcerated, including anger management, victim impact and physical fitness. Cicora said in her letter the classes have “enhanced my skills and knowledge tremendously in helping to prepare myself to be well-equipped to handle any of life’s circumstances that will continue to face me on a daily basis.”