With her hands bound in steel cuffs and a heavy chain in federal court Monday, Kim Rolene Hutterer of New Prague was sentenced to 15 years in prison for mailing threats to Vice President Joe Biden, a longtime Minneapolis FBI agent and others over the past two decades.

Hutterer, 47, offered U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson a rambling apology of sorts, saying she had just wanted an "intimate" relationship with someone in law enforcement and some respect from society.

Magnuson allowed that he has long had "deep feelings" about incarcerating the mentally ill, but said Hutterer's threats have grown increasingly serious, even after she pleaded guilty.

"This is one of the most serious matters that has ever appeared in this court," he said, as several U.S. Marshals stood at the ready lest the 5-foot-2 woman try anything aggressive.

Hutterer admitted that in September 2010, she threatened to kill an employee of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons in a telephone call. She also admitted threatening others, including Vice President Joe Biden and FBI special agent Dean Scheidler.

Scheidler said that in his more than 20 years of work at the Minneapolis FBI office, he's helped put away bank robbers, drug dealers and defendants with ties to terrorist organizations. "Never has my family been threatened the way she has done," Scheidler said.

He said her threats rattled his family so much that his daughter now carries a notebook to write down license plates of suspicious cars in their neighborhood.

The threats began when Hutterer carved "Death to Scheidler" on her jail wall after he arrested her in August 1991 for threatening to bomb a Northwest Airlines flight.

After she was charged last year for her latest threats, she took a staple and carved "Kill Dean" into her forearm while she was undergoing an evaluation for mental illness, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Schommer. Hutterer mailed a letter from the Carver County jail in October that contained threatening drawings and said she would never give up going after Scheidler. "No one can stop me until I am dead," she wrote.

"Her words are to be taken at face value," Scheidler told Magnuson gravely.

Schommer asked Magnuson to lock up Hutterer for 15 years, the maximum allowed under the law.

Hutterer's attorney, Caroline Dunham, asked for a five-year sentence. She said words have power, but Hutterer's words reflect the ravings of a woman who was raped by her father and brothers and abused by her mother. "She may threaten others, but she harms herself," Dunham said.

Hutterer said she's sorry to have upset Scheidler's family. She said that since she was young, she's wanted a relationship with someone in law enforcement.

"My fantasy was to have Dean break up his marriage," she said, adding that she hoped to "spend one night of intimacy with Dean."

Hutterer said if granted permission, she would "leave this godforsaken country" and no longer threaten people.

Magnuson said that's not going to happen. He said she will spend a long time in prison instead, learning to respect this nation's laws.

Dan Browning • 612-673-4493