Detroit man threatens to kill Gov. Whitmer and AG Nessel, will receive probation after guilty plea

A Detroit man charged last year with threatening to kill Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel pleaded guilty Tuesday.

Officials said Robert Sinclair Tesh, 34,  entered a plea of guilty but mentally ill. He will be sentenced to five years of probation in October.

MORE: Man charged with making death threats to Whitmer, Nessel

On April 14, 2020, Tesh communicated through a social media messenger with an acquaintance making credible threats to kill Whitmer and Nessel, officials said. Later that day, he was arrested at his Detroit home.

Tesh received a $50,000 cash/surety bond with a GPS tether on April 22, 2020, and posted bond a week later. He was on a GPS tether and under house arrest except to go to work. He has been on bond without incident since April 2020, officials said.  The tether requirement was lifted by a judge Tuesday because he will not be incarcerated as part of the plea.

On May 15, 2020, he was charged with false report of a threat of terrorism. That charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

"The facts in this case were very disturbing. We understand that these times can be stressful and upsetting for many people. But we will not and cannot tolerate threats like these against public officials who are carrying out their duties as efficiently as they can," said Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy. "You can disagree with their positions or their methodology, but you absolutely cannot act as this defendant acted or you will be charged criminally."

In addition to five years of probation, Tesh's sentence includes other requirements:

  • The probation shall not be shortened without receipt and consideration of a forensic psychiatric report by the sentencing court.
  • He must continuously receive and participate in mental health treatment by an agency of the Department of Community Health. Any change in treatment provider must be approved by the Court. Failure to continue treatment, except by agreement with the treating agency and the sentencing court, is grounds for revocation of probation.
  • A psychiatric report shall be filed with the probation officer and the sentencing court every three months during the period of probation.
  • He must not own use or possess any firearms, weapons, or items resembling weapons; firearms and facsimile weapons confiscated as a part of this investigation must be surrendered to Michigan State Police.
  • He must not consume any alcohol or controlled substance unless prescribed by a doctor; Must not engage in any threatening, assaultive, or abusive behavior in person, by phone, or by computer.