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Press Release

TDCJ Inmate Receives More Prison Time for Threatening Federal Judge…Again

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

HOUSTON – A 46-year-old inmate who formerly resided in Houston has received another federal sentence for threatening a U.S. District Judge, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. George Yarbrough pleaded guilty Sept. 8, 2017.

Today, U.S. District Judge Harmon handed Yarbrough a 120- month sentence. In handing down the sentence, the court noted that this was the second time Yarbrough has been convicted of sending a threatening letter to the same federal judge. He was sentenced in that case to 21 months which will be served consecutively to the previous prison term imposed today.

Yarbrough is currently in the custody of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). While in custody, Yarbrough wrote a letter threatening to kill a Houston federal judge. The U.S. District Court Clerk’s Office in Houston received the letter on April 19, 2017. In the letter, Yarbrough said “So the State of Texas and the Fed. Govt. (illegible), are to Blame: for me killing you, and your family.” It also included that “Everyday I look at your photo, that I got of the internet, and think of many ways to kill you, and your family.” 

Yarbrough previously wrote a similar letter in 2014. In that case, Yarbrough indicated the basis for the threat was because the judge had had dismissed a civil rights lawsuit Yarbrough filed against TDCJ personnel several years earlier. He had stated then that he was going to murder the judge upon his release from TDJC and blamed the judge for all his problems. He added that he had people on the outside that would murder the judge if something happened to him before he got out. Yarbrough also said he was going to murder a judge in San Antonio who took his daughter away. 

In the current case, Yarbrough admitted writing the letter, expressing his concern that he is not being taken seriously as the sentence he received the fist time was so short, referring to it as a “slap on the wrist.” During the interview with authorities, he again threatened the judge, a state senator and two prison guards which who were the basis of the original civil lawsuit.

He will be returned to state custody. Upon his release there, he will be transferred to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future to serve his total 120 month federal prison term. Yarbrough was also ordered to serve a three-year term of supervised release upon his release from federal prison, during which he will participate in mental health counseling.

The U.S. Marshals Service and FBI conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennie Basile is prosecuting the case.

Updated March 26, 2018