Talladega County Man Indicted For Mailing Second Series Of Threat Letters
BIRMINGHAM – A Talladega County man serving more than four years in federal prison for mailing a series of hoax anthrax letters in 2010 has been indicted for mailing another series of threatening letters in 2011, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and U.S. Postal Inspector R. Frank Dyer.
A federal grand jury today indicted CLIFTON LAMAR DODD, 41, of Lincoln, on seven counts of using the U.S. Postal Service to send threating letters. Count one of the indictment filed in U.S. District Court charges Dodd with mailing a hoax anthrax letter to then Jefferson County Deputy District Attorney Teresa McClendon on April 4, 2011. Counts two through six charge Dodd with mailing, or causing the mailing of extortion letters on June 15, 2011, that threatened the lives of U.S. District Court Judge L. Scott Coogler, Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Tommy Nail, lawyers James O'Kelly and Sheila Weil, and Jefferson County Jail inmate Michael Bole. The final count of the indictment charges Dodd with causing an extortion letter to be sent and delivered to former Alabama Sen. Jim Preuitt of Talladega on Sept. 28, 2011.
The June 2011 extortion letters were mailed from Calhoun County, according to the indictment. Dodd was in custody in the Calhoun County Jail at that time, awaiting trial on the federal charges that he sent 23 anthrax hoax letters in 2010. He pleaded guilty to those charges just before trial was to begin in July 2011. Dodd remained in jail awaiting sentencing when, according to the indictment, the September 2011 extortion letter was delivered to Preuitt in Talladega County.
According to today's indictment, the June 2011 letters claimed to be from someone who had been hired to kill the recipients. The letters to judges Coogler and Nail demanded $5,000 from each. The letter to the jail inmate, Bole, stated it was from "your friend from jail," and expressed a promise to kill the people who had done them wrong and said to "be sure the money is their (sic)." The letter specifically mentioned O'Kelly and Judges Coogler and Nail, according to the indictment.
The September 2011 letter to Preuitt stated, "I didn't forget about you. I want my money. All of my money … Get my money or die," according to the indictment.
Preuitt was among the recipients of the 23 anthrax hoax letters Dodd was convicted of mailing in 2010. In December 2011, U.S. District Judge Abdul Kallon sentenced Dodd to 51 months in prison for mailing the hoax threats.
Along with Preuitt, Dodd mailed those letters to U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby at his office in the Robert S. Vance Federal in Birmingham, to two Talladega County state court judges, Talladega County Sheriff Jerry Studdard, several Talladega County Jail inmates who were in the jail at the same time as Dodd, and police investigators from both the Lincoln and Oxford police departments who previously had interviewed Dodd.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigated the current case, which Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Whisonant Sr. is prosecuting.
The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges. A defendant is presumed innocent and it will be the government's burden to prove a defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.