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Press Release

Washington state woman sentenced for threats to kill Texas judge

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

HOUSTON – A 34-year-old Cheney, Washington, resident has admitted she threatened to kill a federal judge, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.  

Elena Rose Markham pleaded guilty to threatening to assault and murder a federal judge. 

Immediately thereafter, visiting U.S. District Judge David Alan Ezra imposed a 19-month-term of imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release. At the hearing, the court heard additional evidence regarding Ezra’s competency restoration and current mental health treatment. In handing down the sentence, Judge Ezra noted her circumstances influenced her conduct. 

“Unlawful threats against our judiciary are an assault against our democracy,” said Hamdani. “Our system of justice relies on the ability of personnel to do their jobs without fear of retribution. We will not stand for anyone making any kind of threat – but especially when those statements use language about bullets to the head and murder.”

On Nov. 3, 2021, a woman calling herself “Elena” left two voicemail messages on the business line for a U.S. district judge. The messages were approximately three minutes, 46 seconds and four minutes, 20 seconds in length. 

As part of her plea, Markham admitted to being “Elena” and making the threats.

In the voice messages, Markham indicated she was upset her federal lawsuit was dismissed and made several, irrational claims regarding judges who were afraid to deal with certain cases.

“What about a bullet in your head, maybe that’ll work,” she said. She further indicated she was not afraid and threatened to put liens on all federal judges. Markham claimed the judge was in her “war book” and if she ever saw him in a tunnel, her “team” would shoot him.

Markham has been and will remain in custody pending further criminal proceedings.

The FBI - Corpus Christi Division conducted the investigation with the assistance of the U.S. Marshals Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Carolyn Ferko prosecuted the case.

Updated June 21, 2023