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Press Release

Man Sentenced to 37 Months in Federal Prison for Sending a “White Powder” Letter to a Federal Office in Greenville, Texas

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

            DALLAS – A man who was convicted at trial earlier this year for sending a “white powder” letter to a federal office in Greenville, Texas, was sentenced today, announced U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.

            Michael M. Murray, 36, of Columbus, Ohio, was sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Judge Jorge A. Solis to 37 months in federal prison.  After a one-day trial in April 2015, a federal jury convicted Murray on an indictment, returned in the Northern District of Texas in October 2011, charging one count of making threats and hoaxes.  He has been in custody since his arrest in Los Angeles in December 2014.

            During trial, the government presented evidence that Murray received a letter from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) demanding that he pay his outstanding student loans.  Murray responded by tearing off a portion of the letter that contained his name and address and writing threats and obscenities on it.  He placed that response in the DOE’s self-addressed return envelope, wrote “Osama Bin Laden” as the sender, put white powder inside of it, and mailed the envelope from Columbus for delivery to DOE’s loan processing center in Greenville.

            The government also presented evidence at trial that Murray’s DNA was found on the back of the stamp affixed to the “white powder” envelope, and that his fingerprints were found on the envelope and on the tape on the envelope flap.  A test performed on the white powder at the Tarrant County Public Health Service Laboratory for the presence of biological agents or other toxins was negative.

              The FBI’s Dallas Division investigated the case.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Penley and Deputy Criminal Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa Miller prosecuted.


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Updated August 12, 2015