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AP: Parolee arrested in congresswoman threats case

January 29, 2011- LOS ANGELES (AP) — A parolee was arrested Friday in connection with a series of recent phone calls threatening to kill retired U.S. Congresswoman Diane Watson, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said.

Sheron Nelson, 42, was taken into custody at the South Los Angeles office of his state parole agent. He was booked on suspicion of making felony terrorist threats and identity theft, the sheriff's department said.

A search of Nelson's residence revealed no weapons, but numerous stolen electronics items were recovered, the sheriff's department said.

"We recovered the phone used to make the calls to Congresswoman Watson. It belonged to the suspect. Also, during questioning, he implicated himself," sheriff's Lt. Kent Wegener said.

Nelson is not eligible for bail because he is on parole for an unrelated terrorist threats conviction, authorities said.

There was no word on the motive for the threats.

Sheriff's Captain Michael Parker told the Los Angeles Times that Watson and her assistant answered the phone, and each was threatened with death.

Watson is aware of the arrest, Parker said.

Watson, 77, a prominent politician in the Los Angeles region for three decades, announced her retirement from Congress last year.

Watson was an ambassador to Micronesia during the Clinton administration and the first black woman to serve on the Los Angeles Unified School District board. Her election in 1975 came at a time of racial friction over mandatory school busing.

She was elected to the state Senate in 1978, serving until 1998. She was first elected to Congress in 2001.

Watson could not immediately be reached for comment.


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