An angry suburban loner was found guilty Monday of mailing fake anthrax, shotgun shells and death threats to Chicago politicians
Ron Haddad, 38 — a self-styled activist who lived with his parents in River Forest — also wrote chilling anonymous letters in which he threatened to butcher the families of oil company executives, a federal jury found.
During a five-day trial, jurors heard that Haddad targeted figures including former Mayor Richard M. Daley and former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, threatening to kill them if they didn’t cut taxes and leave office.
He stuffed harmless white powder, an oily fake poison and shotgun shells into letters he mailed to their offices.
Former Ald. Bernie Stone (50th) and Daley’s nephew, investment banker William R. Daley, both testified last week that they were terrified when they opened jerry-rigged letters Haddad sent them.
“It’s payback!” Haddad wrote in one rant read in court during closing arguments by assistant U.S. Attorney William Ridgway, glorying in how a victim’s family would be “viciously mutilated, burned and killed without the slightest mercy.”
Haddad, whose eyebrow twitched through the trial, turned to look at his sister and mother, but showed no emotion as he was found guilty on all 30 counts.
His conviction brings to an end a five-year legal saga that dragged on while Haddad was treated for mental health problems and fired multiple attorneys.
Though the FBI could find no fingerprints or DNA on the anonymous letter threats he sent, emails he wrote under his own name used strikingly similar language and violent imagery to describe his political concerns. Those included legitimate concerns, such as Chicago’s controversial parking meter deal, but also conspiracy theories, including the belief that Chicago’s “Democratic Machine” was fixing U.S. gas prices.