Man wanted in NJ since 2016 is arrested on Saipan

Hafner threatened to kill former prosecutor, wife
Posted on Oct 03 2019


A man who has been wanted in New Jersey since 2016 for allegedly threatening to kill a former prosecutor and his wife, and threatening to blow up the law office of the same lawyer, was arrested by federal agents on Saipan last Saturday.

Federal agents served Eric Hafner with the arrest warrant issued by the U.S. District Court District of New Jersey on Oct. 6, 2016. No details were indicated in court papers about the circumstances of Hafner’s arrest on the island.

The arrest warrant was issued pursuant to a criminal complaint filed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation charging Hafner with transmission of threatening communications in interstate and foreign commerce.

According to court records, which were initially sealed, the FBI found out that Hafner issued the threats on Sept. 1, 2016, using Skype, an online communication application, in a call he made from Ireland.

Hafner was brought to the U.S. District Court for the NMI Monday for his initial appearance. David Banes served as his court-appointed counsel. Assistant U.S. attorney Garth Backe appeared for the U.S. government.

At the hearing, Hafner confirmed his identity and reserved his right to a detention hearing in the District of New Jersey.

Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona granted his request to have the preliminary and detention hearings held in New Jersey and approved the U.S. government’s petition to have Hafner transferred to New Jersey.

Hafner remains in the custody of the U.S. Marshals.

FBI special agent Silvana Sotillo stated in the complaint that the victim in this case was an assistant prosecutor at a New Jersey county prosecutor’s office from 2007 to April 2012. Between that time, he prosecuted a matter in which Hafner was a juvenile defendant. Sotillo said the case was resolved when Hafner pleaded guilty.

After leaving the prosecutor’s office, the victim entered private practice, joining a New Jersey law firm. On July 31, 2012, Hafner allegedly called the law firm and left a message for the victim to return his call. The victim initially reached Hafner’s voicemail and left a message indicating that he was attempting to return Hafner’s call.

Three minutes later, Hafner called the law office and asked to speak with the victim. The victim took the call and recorded his conversation with Hafner.

Sotillo said Hafner accused the victim of engaging in misconduct in handling his juvenile offense, alleging that he continues to suffer mental and emotional harm from it.

The lawyer informed Hafner that he was no longer a prosecutor and could not assist him.

The victim heard nothing further from Hafner for over three years.

Sotillo said that on Dec. 30, 2015, the victim received a postcard through the U.S. mail at the law firm.

The postcard accused the victim of engaging in a conspiracy to violate Hafner’s civil rights and warned, “Justice is coming to your doorstep.”

On March 10, 2016, the victim received a letter through the U.S. mail at the law office, in which the sender warned the victim, “[The Prosecutor’s Office] can’t help you…”

On April 22, 2016, the victim received another postcard at the law office via U.S. mail, calling him “scum” and stating profanity at the prosecutor’s office.

Sotillo said flight records indicate that on July 31, 2016 into Aug. 1, 2016, Hafner flew aboard a commercial flight from Tokyo, Japan to Dublin, Ireland.

Sotillo said a further review of flight records revealed no indication that Hafner has boarded any other international flight since arriving in Ireland.

On Sept. 1, 2016, an incoming call to the law firm’s main number from a telephone number was routed to a firm employee.

Sotillo said the male caller identified himself as “Stephen Calhoun” and instructed the employee to tell the victim that there was a kerosene bomb in the victim’s basement.

The employee placed the caller on hold and informed the victim of the call and the threat.

Sotillo said the victim picked up the call, and recorded the ensuing conversation.

The victim recognized the voice in the male caller as that of Hafner.

Hafner allegedly made numerous threats such as he is going to get the victim and his wife, that he is outside his house right now, that he’s going to die, among other threats.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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