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Thursday - April 6, 2006


GREENVILLE – On April 4, 2006, United States District Court Judge Malcolm J. Howard sentenced CLARENCE BOBBY ABBOTT to a 5-year prison term for threatening North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall by mail. The 5-year sentence was the maximum sentence permitted by law. ABBOTT pled guilty to the charge on August 1, 2005.

ABBOTT, who is presently serving a sentence for a prior North Carolina conviction as a habitual felon, mailed his threats from prison. ABBOTT had originally written to Secretary Marshall in July of 2002, asking her to address several concerns he had about the North Carolina Department of Corrections (NCDOC). Secretary Marshall, whose duties are unrelated in any way to the NCDOC, nonetheless responded to ABBOTT by returning his letter and suggesting that he forward his concerns to the Secretary of NCDOC. Instead, ABBOTT mailed another letter in November of 2002 that included threats to rape and kill Secretary Marshall and to take similar actions against members of her family upon his release from prison. Although ABBOTT wrote this second letter under the name of another inmate, ABBOTT was quickly identified by prison officials and handwriting analysis confirmed him to be the author of the letter. ABBOTT subsequently admitted to writing the letter.

Secretary Marshall appeared at ABBOTT’S sentencing and offered a statement to the Court in which she expressed her gratitude for a just resolution of the case and articulated the grave concerns ABBOTT’S conduct had caused her personally, for the safety of her family, and professionally, for the safety of all of those who take on the responsibility of public service.

Although the United States Sentencing Guidelines provided for a suggested sentencing range of between 41-51 months in the case, Judge Howard concluded that an upward departure from this range was appropriate based upon ABBOTT’S lengthy criminal history and prior similar conduct, and instead sentenced ABBOTT to a term of 60 months. ABBOTT, who had originally been scheduled for release on his state charges in 2011, will now be eligible for release from federal custody in 2016.

Investigation of the case was conducted by the Office of the United States Postal Inspector and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U. S. Attorney Joe Exum, Jr. prosecuted the case for the United States.


News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at within 48 hours of release.

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