Mar 24, 2016
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The Richmond man who threatened to kill local Muslims and whose vitriolic Facebook activity prompted a bomb squad response at his McBryde Avenue home has agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors that includes a 90-day jail sentence, three years of probation and a requirement to attend anger management courses.

William Celli, 55, is also not allowed to have an active Facebook page for a period of time as part of the terms of the agreement, prosecutors said. The case resolved Friday.

The plea deal meant Celli won’t face the charge of making criminal threats with a hate crime enhancement.

Celli was arrested in December, following reports that he went to the Islamic Society of West Contra Costa County and threatened to kill all of its members. On Dec. 20, after Celli posted an image of a homemade pip bomb to social media, authorities went to his McBryde Avenue home, where a device was detonated by a bomb squad. The device was not armed with explosives at the time, police said.

The incident prompted the mosque to hire additional security. It also fueled speculation that presidential candidate Donald Trump’s rhetoric inspired Celli’s actions, as he commented on Facebook that he supports Trump.

In a news release Wednesday, officials from the Bay Area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations cheered Celli’s jail time.

“At a time when attacks on mosques and Muslim individuals are at an all-time high, this will send a message that such actions will have consequences,” said Zahra Billoo, the organization’s executive director.

Bay City News contributed to this report

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About the Author

Mike Aldax is the editor of the Richmond Standard. He has 13 years of journalism experience, most recently as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. He previously held roles as reporter and editor at Bay City News, Napa Valley Register, Garden Island Newspaper in Kaua’i, and the Queens Courier in New York City.