Friday, October 26, 2007

Superstition/jinx update

Uh, this guy actually did have an impact on the game...

(10-25) 21:56 PDT Fremont -- A die-hard San Francisco Giants fan who desperately wanted his team to beat the Atlanta Braves has pleaded guilty to calling the Atlanta ballpark where the two teams played and making false bomb threats.

Dante Suguitan, 39, pleaded guilty to five counts of making false bomb threats over the phone during the 2005 season, court records show.

Suguitan's lawyers said in court papers that the Bay Area resident has a psychiatric disorder that manifested itself in an "obsessive interest in professional sports, particularly the San Francisco Giants baseball team."

Suguitan, who entered his guilty pleas in U.S. District Court in Atlanta last week, admitted he wanted to "jinx" or somehow intimidate Atlanta Braves players so that the Giants would win, authorities said. He is scheduled to be sentenced in Atlanta on Jan. 11.

Defense experts said Suguitan believed Giants sportscasters were actually speaking to him and that he felt he could "manipulate the outcome of games by listening to them on the radio or watching them on television." (emphasis BH's) But a psychiatrist consulted by the government said she did not believe Suguitan suffered from a mental disorder.

On Aug. 10 and 11, 2005, employees at Turner Field, the home of the Atlanta Braves, received a series of bomb threats from a man on the phone. The caller said there were bombs placed inside the park that were set to explode at different times while the Braves were playing the Giants.

The Giants lost to the Braves on Aug. 10 but won on Aug. 11.

During one call, a man told a security officer that a bomb was going to explode in the Braves dugout and that "the bomb was atomic and looked like a Coke can," FBI Special Agent John Cronier wrote in an affidavit. In another call, the man said a bomb would explode during the "tomahawk chop"- a popular gesture made by Braves fans during games.

Authorities identified the phone number of the caller and learned that it was a cell phone in the name of "SF Giants Fan," Cronier wrote.

Suguitan was identified as the suspect with the help of a Fremont police detective who recognized his voice from one of the recorded threats. The detective recognized the voice as he was helping Suguitan register as a sex offender, according to court and public records.

The Fremont police detective heard Suguitan's voice during 12 meetings - and in two dozen voice-mail messages, the affidavit said. The cell-phone number from the threats also matched the phone number he gave Fremont police, authorities said.

Suguitan must register as a sex offender because of a conviction for annoying or molesting children, according to the state's Megan's Law Web site. Federal prosecutors in Atlanta said Suguitan lives in San Jose, but the sex-offender registry said he lives in Newark.

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