A Clifton man, who sent threatening text messages, including one where he called Paterson’s Muslim police chief a “terrorist,” pleaded guilty on Monday morning.
Stefan Keco, 29-year-old, pleaded guilty to two counts of terroristic threats before Passaic County judge Sohail Mohammed.
“I want to put this behind me and move on,” said Keco after entering the guilty plea.
On February 26, 2020, Keco sent the text messages to Ibrahim “Mike” Baycora, who is the city’s first Muslim and Turkish American police chief, to intimidate him because of his religion, race, and national origin, according to authorities.
In one text message Keco wrote, “Going to kill you f–king terrorist.” In another, he wrote, “We are tracking your every move.”
But a grand jury refused to indict Keco on the biased intimidation charge. Instead, the grand jury indicted him on the two terroristic threats charges.
Keco accepted a plea deal on Monday. As part of the plea agreement, he will be placed on probation with time served at the time of sentencing, said Passaic County assistant prosecutor Vivian Khalil during the court hearing.
Keco has been in the Passaic County Jail for the past 14 months.
Khalil said Keco will also be required to undergo mental health counseling. He is barred from making any contact with the police chief.
Keco’s attorney Harley Breite wanted his client released from jail pending sentencing. Khalil opposed the request, suggesting it would break the plea agreement.
The judge denied Breite’s request, but agreed to sentence Keco prior to May 28.
Baycora could not immediately be reached for comments.
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