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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 23, 2018

Virginia Beach Man Arrested for Threatening a Member of Congress

NORFOLK, Va. – A Virginia Beach man was arrested today on charges of threatening to murder and assault a member of Congress.

According to court documents, Wallace Grove Godwin, 69, visited the Virginia Beach Office of Congressman Scott Taylor yesterday. After apparently becoming frustrated during a discussion about marijuana policy, Godwin made the following statement to a staff member for the Congressman: “Scott is having an event this Saturday. I am going to get my shotgun and do something about this. I will just handle this myself.” Godwin then pointed at two staffers in the room and stated, “You two are next.”

According to court documents, these recent threats follow two aggressive interactions that Godwin had in 2017, one in which Godwin visited Congressman Taylor’s private residence and interacted directly with Congressman Taylor outside his home. During another incident Godwin visited the Virginia Beach office and yelled at congressional staff members.

Godwin is scheduled to make his initial appearance today at the federal courthouse in Norfolk at 2:30 p.m.

Godwin has been charged with threatening to murder and assault a United States official, and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, if convicted. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Tracy Doherty-McCormick, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Matthew R. Verderosa, Chief of Police of the U.S. Capitol Police, made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel T. Young is prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:18-mj-166.

Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Contact: 
Joshua Stueve Director of Communications joshua.stueve@usdoj.gov
Updated March 23, 2018