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Arizona man pleads guilty to stalking Maryland woman

An Arizona man pleaded guilty Thursday to federal charges of stalking his ex-wife in Maryland after a campaign of harassment and violent threats that included mailing the woman shredded copies of protective orders she had taken out against him, the U.S. Justice Department said.

David Charles Richards, 49, of Phoenix, will be sentenced in June and faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison for stalking.

Richards and the woman were married in the early 1990s and lived in Anne Arundel County, according to his indictment, but the marriage ended after about 10 weeks when Richards told his wife he had been previously arrested for assault and she ordered him from the home.

Fifteen years later, in 2006, Richards contacted the woman's sister and told her, among other things, that "he has reclaimed his wife as of today," according to the indictment. The woman obtained a protective order against Richards that was renewed for several years.

Later in 2006, the victim discovered Richards had created a website in her name that contained threatening material about how Richards wanted the victim to show "accountability" for alleged actions. The website also had a countdown clock to the expiration of the protective order, according to the indictment.

When the victim emailed Richards in 2007 asking him to stop, he wrote back: "You broke my life, now your going to fix it," according to his plea agreement.

In 2008, Richards tried to buy a gun, but was denied because of the protective order. The next year, Richards tore up one of the protective orders and mailed it to the victim.

Richards also admitted to numerous other instances of phone and Internet harassment and threats of violence, including writing in 2011 that the victim's "days were numbered."

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