GOLDEN – A former CSU janitor who was the subject of a Collegian investigation pleaded guilty Tuesday to sending threatening e-mails to the father of a student killed in the 1999 Columbine High School Massacre.
Darren Morrison, 45, worked as a janitor in Parmelee Hall for a decade and quit shortly after being charged with harassment in January for sending e-mails that threatened violence with a .50-caliber handgun.
Morrison- posing as a prominent guns rights activist – sent three e-mail threats to a Littleton man, Tom Mauser, whose son was among the 13 killed by gunmen Eric Harris Dylan Klebold at Columbine High School.
Mauser read the vulgar and insulting e-mails to Collegian reporters.
“I will disrupt your life and I will be armed. I have a militia at my disposal, so you better be afraid, be very, very afraid,” one of the e-mails said.
The next e-mail prompted Mauser to contact the Jefferson County Sheriff’s office.
“Tommy boy, you better watch out, you better not cry because (we’re) coming for you. Maybe not your house. Maybe your office. And maybe a smear campaign,” the second e-mail said.
“I have a laser sight on my .50-cal as well as a homemade silencer. I have spotted planes flying into DIA. I could easily shoot one down, so don’t take any trips for a while.”
Morrison is set to be sentenced June 1 in Jefferson County Court, where Mauser and another victim are expected to weigh in. If convicted, he could spend up to six months in jail and pay a fine of up to $750.
Morrison later sent an apology e-mail to the Columbine father and gun control activist. Mauser said he believes the ex-janitor learned his lesson, and hopes the court sentences him to community service, and not jail time.
“He’s got a family,” Mauser said of the former CSU janitor. “I think he was pretty foolish, pretty stupid. And I don’t think he’s vicious.”
In the threats, Morrison posed as Duncan Philp, 50, a CSU alum and gun rights activist who previously protested outside of the Columbine father’s home.
Morrison alleges that Philp /- who he met in a guns rights activist group – threatened his life, and says he sent the e-mails, posing as Philp, to get him arrested.
But Philp says he never threatened the former CSU employee.
“Clearly, I am the victim,” Philp said. ” I asked the DA for jail time, a psych evaluation and therapy. I don’t think they (prosecutors) are all that concerned about me.”
Morrison and Philp have a long history of harassing disputes on chat sites and various Internet forums, including some on the Collegian Web site, Collegian.com.
And Morrison says it was a death threat posted by Philp that prompted him to send threats to Mauser.
Collegian reporters found the Web post that Morrison perceived to be a threat on his life. The post was made on the Tyranny Response Team Web forum, trtnational.com. Morrison and Philp met years ago through their involvement with TRT, a guns rights activist group.
Philp admits to posting a message on the forum last November that requested the installation of a memorial site for five deceased TRT members.
Below it, Philp made another post /- three weeks later – that Morrison says made him fear for his life.
“Add Darren Morrison to the list,” the post said. ‘Poor Darren, we knew him well.”
Philp says the message wasn’t a death threat.
“If I wanted to kill the guy, I would have years ago,” he said. “It’s not a death threat. I’m the victim here.”
Philp says he wants to see Morison punished for the e-mail threats that prompted FBI agents and officers to approach him in a Wyoming parking lot with guns drawn.
But Patrick Fitz-Gerald, deputy district attorney for Jefferson County, says seeking justice for Philp is secondary.
“All we’ve got at this point is the harassment case,” he said. “It seems like Mr. Mauser got caught in the middle. This is a more serious harassment case than I usually see.”
Sentencing was postponed because Mauser didn’t appear in court to present, Fitz-Gerald said, and Mauser is the victim.
“The end result was I nearly got killed over his little game,” Philp said in reference to the armed FBI encounter that resulted from the threats. “I don’t think he understands the extent of what he did.”
A separate case would have to be filed to address the identity theft aspect of the case and any damages imposed on Philp or his reputation.
Mauser says he wants all parties involved to “just move on.”
“These two guys are just unbelievable,” he said.
After pleading guilty Morrison said he feared for his family’s stability.
“I’m afraid of going to jail,” Morrison said. “I’m hoping I don’t get jail time because I’d lose my job.”
Associate news managing editor J. David McSwane contributed to this report.
Staff writer Emily Polak can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.