PORTLAND — A Lewiston man pleaded guilty Monday to threatening communications in interstate commerce, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Charles Allen Barnes, 46, pleaded guilty to transmitting a “racial-slur-laden” voice message via Facebook Messenger on Aug. 30, 2022, threatening to kill his neighbor, the release said. The message, sent to a friend of the neighbor, used graphic and violent terms, officials said.

Charles Barnes submitted photo

Barnes’ sentencing hearing will come later, the release said. He faces a maximum of five years in prison, which will be determined by a federal district court judge. If the judge determines Barnes’ threat was racially motivated, a sentencing enhancement will be applied, the release said.

A sentence enhancement is an additional form of punishment that can be added to the sentence in a criminal case because some fact justifies it. 

Barnes was the subject of a Maine Civil Rights Act complaint stemming from the incident which was filed by Attorney General Aaron Frey in April 2023. 

In the message to his victim’s friend, Barnes said he was parked outside the 32-year-old Black woman’s apartment. Barnes said he was “waiting for someone to step outside and the first one who does is gonna die … I don’t care if it’s her kid, or her, or her boyfriend. I don’t care … I’m killing me a (racial epithet).”


Frey’s complaint sought a civil injunction prohibiting Barnes from having any contact with the victim or any member of her family and from violating the Maine Civil Rights Act in the future.

“Hate of any kind will not be tolerated in Maine,” Darcie McElwee said in Monday’s release. McElwee is the U.S. Attorney for the District of Maine.

“With our federal, state and local law enforcement partners, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maine will diligently pursue justice for victims of racial harassment, threats and violence. Barnes’ conduct is not representative of how we treat our neighbors in Maine,” McElwee continued. “Protecting civil rights is one of our highest priorities.”

Kristen Clarke, assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said in the release that her department will continue to investigate and prosecute those who carry out threats or acts of bias-motivated violence.

“Charles Barnes thought that hiding behind a social media account would shield him from the consequences of terrorizing his neighbors with vile, racist death threats, but he was wrong,” Clarke said.

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