Chittenden County Man Sentenced for Threatening State Officials
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Vermont
Burlington, Vermont – The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont announced that Josh Puma, 36, formerly of Chittenden County, was sentenced Wednesday, July 26 in the United States District Court in Rutland to 20 months of imprisonment. Chief United States District Judge Geoffrey Crawford also ordered that Puma serve three years of supervised release following his period of incarceration.
According to court documents, between July 2021 and January 2022, Puma called a Vermont Department of Corrections reporting line hundreds of times. Puma was charged by federal indictment for three of those calls in which he (1) threatened to kill a state court judge and a defense attorney, (2) threatened to kill a state court judge and sexually assault a state prosecutor, and (3) threatened to kill a state court judge. Puma pleaded guilty to all three charged threats transmitted in interstate commerce. Puma’s threats made over the reporting line were recorded, and in those recorded calls, which in total numbered close to 300, Puma specifically described his intention upon release from jail to kill and maim those state officials, in addition to harming and killing other members of the legal community.
As described in court documents, Puma has mental health issues and was previously ordered hospitalized by the state court. In imposing the 20-month sentence, Chief Judge Crawford varied downward from the otherwise applicable advisory Federal Sentencing Guidelines in part to recognize Puma’s mental health issues.
This case was investigated by the Vermont State Police.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Wendy L. Fuller represented the government. Assistant Federal Public Defender Sara Puls represented Puma.
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Updated July 28, 2023