A local musician who turned out to be a serial rapist years ago and who threatened an entire community in Maryland, was sentenced to 37 years in prison Friday in a Montgomery County courtroom for intimidating witnesses in a minor drug case.
Residents and business owners in Gaithersburg know him as Montana, or "the creepy guy." His real name is Michael Eugene Donati.
Some of his victims are still afraid he may one day get out of prison.
They say long before he got busted for trying to sell a small bag of marijuana at a local bar, he was using fake email addresses to send violent threats and ethnic slurs to teenagers and their parents.
Donati lived in a Montgomery Village townhouse with his wife.
An aspiring blues musician, Donati went by the name Montana, an eerie reference to his former home state where he had been convicted of rape.
But people in the stretch of historic Gaithersburg say he launched a war of terror that had them fearing for their lives.
One woman says she received several threats against her and her family. She was too afraid of Donati to reveal her identity on camera when she spoke with ABC7.
"I told my neighbors about him, I said keep an eye out, this is the kind of car he drives," she says. "We have a security system at out home and at work. We let everybody know he wasn't allowed in our office. We're afraid of him."
She took the threats seriously after learning of his criminal history, which include convictions in 1979 for indecent exposure with the victim being a 13 year old girl, in 1980 for rape, in 1982 for rape, in 1998 for indecent exposure, and in 1999 for a lewd act.
At a bar they threw him out and told him never to come back.
His recent brush with the law started at a bar when Donati tried to sell a bouncer a bag of marijuana. A fight broke out and Donati was arrested.
He threatened to burn down the bar and then started sending threatening emails to employees of the bar. The owners went so far as to have security systems installed at their employees' homes.
In addition to threatening the witnesses at the bar, he planted marijuana at one witness' home and told police that witness was the drug dealer.
Donati plans to appeal the 37-year sentence.
The sentence was not for the drug charges, but for the numerous threatening emails.