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Press Release

Jacksonville Man Found Guilty Of Attempting To Assassinate A Federal District Judge And Multiple Federal Firearm Offenses

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Jacksonville, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that a federal jury today found Aaron M. Richardson (27, Jacksonville) guilty of attempted murder of a United States District Judge, multiple federal firearm offenses, multiple false statements, failing to appear at scheduled court hearings, and impersonating a military officer. Richardson faces life in federal prison. His sentencing will be scheduled for a future date.

Richardson was indicted on September 25, 2013.

Judge Timothy Corrigan previously convicted and sentenced Richardson for attempting to make an incendiary device in a 2008 case. Following incarceration for that crime, Richardson began serving a term of supervised release. Subsequently, he was arrested for multiple new offenses and faced state prosecutions in Clay, Duval, and Volusia counties, as well as supervised release proceedings in federal court. 

Richardson devised a plan, which he named “Mission Freedom,” that involved preparing a false order purportedly signed by Judge Corrigan, dismissing all of his pending charges, as well as other benefits. Richardson planned the murder so that Judge Corrigan could not refute the sham order. As part of the plan, he conducted Internet searches to locate Judge Corrigan and the potential murder weapon.

On June 21, 2013, Richardson stole a Savage Arms .30-06 rifle from a local Sports Authority store. The theft and Richardson’s prior casing of the store were captured on store video surveillance. On the night of June 22, 2013, Richardson went to Judge Corrigan’s residence, and at 12:30 a.m., he fired a single shot at the judge using the stolen rifle. The shot missed the judge by less than two inches and instead hit a window frame. Forensic evidence confirmed Richardson’s presence at the scene of the crime.

Richardson was apprehended on June 25, 2013, by a U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force. That night, he made multiple false statements about the crime to the FBI.

This case was investigated by the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, the Daytona Beach Police Department, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the State Attorneys’ Offices for the Fourth and Seventh Circuits.  It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Mac D. Heavener, III and Mark B. Devereaux.

Updated March 18, 2016