“I hope one of your kids gets raped.”
Matthew James Powers, of Texas, is accused of harassing the wife of state Rep. Tony Tinderholt.
A city council candidate in Arlington, Texas, has been charged with sending obscene and threatening Twitter messages to a state representative’s wife.
Matthew James Powers, 35, was arrested on one misdemeanor count of harassment in the case, which took authorities more than a year to investigate. The arrest was first reported by The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Powers, who is running for a seat on Arlington City Council, sent “harassing, obscene, threatening” Twitter messages to Bethany Tinderholt on Valentine’s Day 2016, according to the arrest affidavit. Tinderholt is married to state Rep. Tony Tinderholt (R).
The messages, sent via the Twitter screenname @CzarofSwag, propositioned Bethany Tinderholt for sex acts and offered her $1 and $5. Other messages included:
“Also I hope one of your kids gets raped by a pedophile or killed by someone texting. You can thank your husband for that.”
“BTW I find your house wall on Park Manor easy to jump and your locks are crap. Picked them right open. Better get new ones.”
“And I wish you wouldn’t keep your blinds closed so much. Makes it harder to watch.”
Bethany Tinderholt reported the messages to police the day after they were sent. Tinderholt, who was pregnant at the time, told investigators she found the rape reference “extremely alarming and offensive.”
Tinderholt and her husband contacted police again days later to report receiving a disturbing handwritten letter in the mail. The letter read, in part:
“I do love watching you Beth. I would hate to see something happen to you. See you again soon.”
Police said the letter included “various numbers and symbols,” which had no meaning to the Tinderholts.
A neighbor’s surveillance video showed a man on a black motorcycle depositing the letter in a mailbox, but the quality was too poor for police to see the license number.
Authorities said an internet search of the @CzarofSwag user name yielded a social media profile linking Powers to the Twitter handle.
Powers denied creating the account when investigators questioned him. Pressed further, Powers “requested an attorney, advising he no longer wished to speak,” the arrest affidavit says.
A black Honda motorcycle was parked in Powers’ driveway when police interviewed him, and it belonged to Powers, police said.
Investigators said it took them until January to link Powers to the @CzarofSwag Twitter account. The account has since been removed from Twitter.
Authorities have not speculated on a motive. Powers was unavailable for comment. A Facebook page devoted to his political campaign was no longer available Thursday.
If convicted, Powers faces up to 180 days in jail.
David Lohr covers crime and missing persons. Tips? Feedback? Send an email or follow him on Twitter.