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Press Release

Bluefield man pleads guilty to sending threatening letters to former U.S. Attorney and Bluefield Mayor

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

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A Bluefield man who mailed letters threatening to kill the former United States Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia and the mayor of Bluefield pleaded guilty on Friday in federal court in Abingdon, Virginia, announced United States Attorney Carol Casto and United States Attorney for the Western District of Virginia John P. Fishwick, Jr. Kenneth Robert Godsey, 35, pleaded guilty to two counts of mailing a threatening communication.

In May 2015, Godsey sent a threatening letter from the Southwest Valley Regional Jail in Tazewell, Virginia, to then-United States Attorney Booth Goodwin at the Charleston office. Godsey’s letter to former U.S. Attorney Goodwin included numerous references to murder. In July 2015, Godsey sent another threatening letter from the jail to Bluefield Mayor Tom Cole. Godsey stated in the letter that he would kill the mayor and have others kill citizens of Bluefield. Pursuant to the plea agreement and pending approval by the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia, Godsey faces between five and 10 years in federal prison when he is sentenced on October 24, 2016.

“Law enforcement and public officials should be able to go to work and go home to their families without threats from criminals,” said United States Attorney Casto. “This prosecution recognizes the importance of taking this criminal behavior seriously and should serve as a significant warning to those who make these threats to law enforcement, public officials, and their families. I want to the thank all of the investigating agencies and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia for helping to stop these threats and working to make law enforcement and public service safer for everyone.”

“Making threats to the safety of others, including public officials and those in law enforcement, is a serious matter that will be treated as such,” said United States Attorney Fishwick “Those who threaten the lives of others will be held accountable for their actions, as was the case here.”

The FBI, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Tazewell County, Virginia, Sheriff’s Office, and the West Virginia State Police conducted the investigation.

Updated August 15, 2016