I "wanted to ask ... would you please give me the permission to meet and possibly have a sexual relationship with one of your horses?" read one of the emails recently received by numerous livestock owners in Sussex County, New Jersey.
A local man is accused of becoming so distraught after multiple farmers denied his request to let him have sex with their farm animals that he threatened them and left homemade tire deflation devices in their driveways.
Richard Decker, 31, of Vernon, allegedly sent both emails and handwritten letters to multiple farms, horse boarding facilities, and horse stables all around Sussex County. All the letters shared one common thread: He allegedly wanted to have sex with their horses — in some instances, cows — a prosecutor told a judge Wednesday in Superior Court, the New Jersey Herald reports.
In one of the emails allegedly written by Decker, he appeared to go out of his way to be polite.
"I'm sorry if my request appears insulting," the email posted publicly to Facebook read. "I am honestly attracted to horses and I'm looking for a longer term relationship with one."
Still, Decker's requests were — perhaps not shockingly — rejected, and he allegedly began harassing the owners of the places he contacted and leaving negative reviews for their facilities online.
The harassment allegedly escalated from there. In one instance, prosecutor Magdalen Czykier says he threatened to beat an owner’s wife with a wooden stick. Decker is even accused of putting homemade metal tire deflation devices in driveways, damaging multiple vehicles, according to the Herald.
Decker was arrested last week and now faces a slew of charges, which include second-degree possession of explosives, second-degree possession of a destructive device to use unlawfully, fourth-degree procuring an animal in any kind of sexual manner or initiate any sexual conduct with an animal, fourth-degree threatening to commit aggravated assault, and fourth-degree knowingly manufacturing firearms, according to online jail records.
He is also facing multiple charges related to the cyber harassment.
The explosives charges stem from when officials searched his home, where he lives with his mother. Investigators allegedly found in his bedroom, in addition to some of the homemade metal tire deflation spikes, explosives and powders used in explosives. Decker also allegedly manufactured a .22-caliber firearm without being registered to.
In January, police in Sussex County warned the community that someone was planting tire slashing devices around town.
“Attention Residents: Over the past couple of weeks, we have received reports of incidents in which someone has been placing homemade tire slashing devices at the entrances to farm roads/driveways,” the Vernon Police Department posted on Facebook. “Please report all suspicious vehicles and persons, especially in the overnight hours. We ask that anyone who has farm like property to be vigilant and check the end of your driveway when you are pulling in or out.”
The incidents date back to August 2018. Decker was arrested on Oct. 3.
Decker’s attorney, Daniel Palazzo, said in court on Wednesday that his client admitted to sending the letters and emails but he took issue with the firearm and explosive charges. Palazzo said he didn’t know if the .22 “was even operable” and argued that the “explosives were basically firecrackers,” according to the Herald.
He added, “They were stored in jars with no intent to use against anyone.”
Decker is due back in court on Nov. 4.
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