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Press Release

Jefferson County Man Charged With Mailing Threatening Letters

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of New York

ALBANY, NEW YORK – Jesse Bartlett, age 46, of LaFargeville, New York, was arrested today and charged with mailing threatening letters, announced United States Attorney Carla B. Freedman and Janeen DiGuiseppi, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

A criminal complaint alleges that Bartlett, who claimed to be the “Chinese Zodiac Killer,” mailed threatening communications to media outlets, government offices, houses of worship and private businesses throughout New York, as well as in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Vermont, and the District of Columbia.  In the letters, which he signed as the “Chinese Zodiac Killer,” Bartlett wrote that he killed people, ate their flesh, and that he intends to kill more people, including an unnamed bus driver.   

The charge in the complaint is merely an accusation.  The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The charge filed against Bartlett carries a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of up to 3 years. A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors.

Bartlett made an initial appearance today before United States Magistrate Judge Christian F. Hummel, and was ordered detained pending a detention hearing scheduled for May 23.

This case is being investigated by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), with assistance from the New York State Police and the United States Postal Inspection Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander Wentworth-Ping.

Updated May 19, 2022

Violent Crime