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Massachusetts troll who sent racist death threats to a couple via Facebook Messenger now faces prison sentence

A Boston-area man has been sentenced to more than seven years in prison for racially harassing an interracial couple he never knew on social media.

According to federal authorities, Stephen DeBerardinis sent several racist slurs and threats to a couple – a white woman and a black man – via Facebook Messenger starting on January 6, 2021.

Although DeBerardinis did not know the couple personally, prosecutors said he saw their engagement photos and the December 2020 announcement through a mutual Facebook friend.

'My crew and I burn n---ers alive': Massachusetts man sent to jail for sending racist death threats to couple via Facebook Messenger
Stephen M. DeBerardinis, 48, of Boston and Dedham, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Allison D. Burroughs to 90 months in prison, followed by three years of probation, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts. (Photo: Facebook/Stephen DeBerardinis)

Using his own Facebook account, he began sending them a barrage of racist messages, including one that read: “IIIIIIIIIIIIME, YOUR A***** FUCKING DIRTY A** WHITE SCUM.”

When the couple told him they were going to report him to the police, DeBerardinis responded, “SNOOPS ARE SEWN,” with a picture of brass knuckles. He also wrote, “Read more about me lol… You'll see me and my crew burn n*****s alive,” and “And white whores like you, well [sic]…. raped and killed, THEN [sic] we cut off body parts and send them to your family, lol.”

The victims called the local police, who in turn contacted the federal police.

In March 2024, DeBerardinis pleaded guilty to communicating threats in interstate commerce with the intent to harm a person, influencing witnesses and victims by intimidation, threats, and corrupt persuasion, and influencing witnesses and victims by harassment.

According to federal authorities, his Facebook account contains numerous racially motivated posts full of hate speech and white supremacist symbolism.

A judge sentenced him to seven years and six months in prison, followed by three years probation.

Court documents show that DeBerardinis has a long criminal history. His record shows he has been arrested more than 100 times in the past 24 years and has previous convictions for threats, intimidation, false reports, impersonation of a public official and theft.

A search of his home revealed that he was in possession of over 70 knives, 22 brass knuckles, swords, bullets, gun powder, stun guns, rifles and several other weapons, which were confiscated by authorities.

“The toxic mix of racist hatred, threats of violence, and the use of social media to spread abhorrent and violent attitudes is a destructive danger to every law-abiding member of our community. The nearly eight-year prison sentence imposed on this defendant should send the message that hate crimes come at a high price,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Joshua S. Levy.

Earlier this month, school officials in Southborough, Massachusetts, reported that one of their teachers was on paid leave for reenacting a slave auction in class with “colored students” and saying the N-word while reading a book that did not contain the slur.

In March, six middle school students in Southwick, Massachusetts, were charged with starting and facilitating a mock slave auction in a Snapchat group that targeted their black classmates.

Anna Harden

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