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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Kentucky

Friday, January 26, 2018

Lexington Man Sentenced To 30 Years In Prison For Threatening To Murder A Federal Prosecutor And Solicitation To Murder An Officer Of The United States

LEXINGTON, Ky. – United States Attorney Russell M. Coleman today announced the 30 year sentence of a Mexican National, formerly living in Lexington, by United States District Judge Danny C. Reeves, in United States District Court, for threatening to murder an Assistant United States Attorney and solicitation to murder an officer of the United States.


 "The full power of the United States will be brought against those who place our prosecutors and federal officers at risk," stated United States Attorney Russell Coleman. "Today's thirty year sentence should give pause to those who are considering threatening those who protect our commonwealth." 


            Edgar Villa-Castaneda, 43, was found guilty on October 17, 2017, following a two-day trial, of both charges in a two-count indictment returned on February 2, 2017. According to information presented at trial, on about August 5, 2015, and September 22, 2015, in Woodford County, Kentucky, Villa-Castaneda threatened to murder then Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Robert M. Duncan, Jr.


            Specifically, Villa-Castaneda, was incarcerated at the Woodford County Detention Center (WCDC) in February 2015, pending federal drug charges filed by then (AUSA) Duncan. On September 22, another inmate at the WCDC, contacted his lawyer and reported that Villa-Castaneda, using the nickname “Flaco” was attempting to hire someone to kill AUSA Duncan. On September 24, 2015, the inmate’s lawyer notified FBI Special Agent John Whitehead that Villa-Castaneda was attempting to hire someone to kill AUSA Duncan. During an interview with the FBI, the inmate explained that he and Villa-Castaneda became cellmates at the WCDC in September 2015, and that within hours Villa-Castaneda began talking to him about his hatred for AUSA Duncan. Villa-Castaneda believed that he and his incarcerated son were being unfairly targeted and erroneously being portrayed as major drug dealers by AUSA Duncan. Sometime over the next twenty-four hours, Villa-Castaneda asked the inmate if he knew anyone that could “whack” AUSA Duncan for him. Villa-Castaneda said he would pay $25,000 to have it done. Villa-Castaneda stated he currently had $15,000 hidden in radio speakers at his sister's house and he would pay an additional $10,000 after the job was done.


On November 24, 2015, Villa-Castaneda was questioned by FBI special agents at the Grayson County Detention Center. Villa-Castaneda was read his Miranda rights, and signed a form stating he understood his rights and understood he was waiving those rights before admitting to making the threats and soliciting an inmate to assist in the murder of AUSA Duncan.


The Honorable Robert M. Duncan, Jr. currently serves as the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky having received an appointment by President Donald Trump.


Due to recusal by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Kentucky, this case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky, A. Spencer McKiness, and was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).  

Violent Crime
Updated January 26, 2018