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Man Sentenced for Synagogue Bomb Threat

Faces 33 months in prison for calling in threat to Houston congregation

Stephanie Butnick
July 01, 2014

A Houston resident was sentenced to more than two years in jail for calling in a bomb threat to Congregation Beth Israel. a local synagogue, in April 2013, JTA reports. He faces 33 months in jail after pleading guilty to threatening to bomb a synagogue as well as making a bomb threat over the telephone.

Dante Phearse, 33, was sentenced in federal court for threatening to bomb Congregation Beth Israel, according to a statement issued by the U.S. Justice Department. The statement said Phearse was an ex-convict with a long criminal record and a history of mental illness.

U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt also ordered Phearse to pay $13,000 in restitution and to serve three years of supervised release after his prison term.

According to, Houston police said that Phearse called the synagogue on April 30, 2013, and reportedly “said that there were no white Jewish people, only black Jewish people, and said he was going to blow up the temple.” He later called back and made more explicit, racially charged statements.

Stephanie Butnick is chief strategy officer of Tablet Magazine, co-founder of Tablet Studios, and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.