Criminal Justice News

Thursday, June 28, 2012

State Prisoner Sentenced to Over Four Years in Federal Prison for Sending a Threatening Letter to a U.S. District Judge

Also Attempted to Mail a Threatening Letter to the President

BALTIMORE—U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett sentenced Willie Ray Bryant, age 41, a Maryland state prisoner housed in Cumberland, Maryland, today to 51 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for willfully causing a threatening communication to be mailed to a United States judge. The federal sentence will run consecutive to the 40-year Maryland and 50-year Delaware state sentences that he must serve first.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Special Agent in Charge Barbara Golden of the United States Secret Service-Baltimore Field Office.

According to Bryant’s plea agreement, sometime prior to September 11, 2010 while he was incarcerated, Bryant smuggled out a letter addressed to a U.S. District Judge and caused that letter to be mailed on September 11, 2010, from Baltimore, Maryland. On September 14, 2010, the judge received the one-page letter at his chambers which threatened, “Boom see how easy this was, next time you wont be so lucky, ERM Family Anthrax.” The judge had presided over one of Bryant’s prior state criminal cases.

The letter was unsigned, but FBI fingerprint analysis determined that it bore Bryant’s prints and found that the letter also bore imprints of letters and numbers appearing to partially match Bryant’s mother’s name and phone number.

After the FBI determined the sender’s identity from Bryant’s fingerprints, a message was sent to Maryland Corrections officials to monitor Bryant’s use of the mail. Shortly thereafter, corrections officials intercepted a letter Bryant had addressed to President Obama excoriating the President for turning his back on Islam and threatening to kill the President. Bryant signed the letter and included his state prisoner number.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the FBI and Secret Service for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney Adam K. Ake, who prosecuted the case.

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