LONG ISLAND (PIX11) — A retired school teacher from Long Island who is serving a federal sentence for LGBTQ hate crimes wants to get out of prison early.
A hearing on a compassionate release motion is scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday in Federal Court in Central Islip.
According to court documents, Robert Fehring, 75, said he isn’t receiving proper medical care behind bars despite having a heart attack in February.
“I am truly terrified for my well-being,” Fehring said. “I accept my conviction, but the punishment here is beyond what anyone could expect of me.”
Fehring was sentenced to 30 months behind bars in 2022 after he pleaded guilty to various crimes, including sending hateful and threatening letters to LGBTQ advocates and threatening to blow up and shoot up the historic Stonewall Inn and various Pride events.
David Kilmnick, one of Fehring’s victims, spoke exclusively to PIX11’s Eileen Lehpamer before Thursday’s hearing. Kilmnick said Fehring sent him vile, hateful and threatening letters for nearly a decade while he ran the LGBT Network on Long Island.
“[Fehring] said he wanted to eliminate me. He wanted to eliminate me. He knew where I lived, and he was going to come get me at my house, and I had my mom living with us, my husband living with us,” Kilmnick said.
The FBI seized two loaded shotguns from Fehring’s Bayport home when he was arrested. A dead bird was found stuffed in an envelope addressed to an attorney defending LGBTQ clients. Agents also found surveillance photos Fehring took at a Long Island Pride event.
“[Fehring] actually showed up to different events like LI Pride, with a rifle, allegedly to shoot me, but he said he couldn’t do it because there were people around me at the time. Our justice system is a joke if it releases him,” Kilmnick said.
In a personal letter to the judge, Fehring wrote:
“I am not a hateful man. I was very troubled and confused by specific kinds of social advocacy and reacted terribly to a movement that I believed at the time to be harmful.”
Federal prosecutors said in their argument to the judge:
“Neither his advanced age nor his medical conditions—most of which pre-date his incarceration—prevented the defendant from carrying out an eight-year-long threats campaign,” the letter read.
Fehring’s attorney, Glenn Obedin, did not return PIX 11’s phone calls seeking comment.