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Press Release

Former Pilot Pleads Guilty To Threatening Republic Airlines CEO

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Missouri

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a former Republic Airlines pilot pleaded guilty in federal court today to threatening the company’s CEO.

Matthew Richard Walker, 37, of Faribault, Minn., waived his right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. Chief District Judge Greg Kays to a federal information that charges him with explicitly threatening to torture and kill the CEO of Republic Airlines and his family.

By pleading guilty today, Walker admitted that he carried and delivered threats on multiple occasions while employed by the airline. On Aug. 17, 2012, a Republic Airways employee discovered a threatening letter in the cockpit of an aircraft while it was parked at Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C. Four identical letters were later discovered on aircraft parked at Reagan International Airport, in Charlotte, N.C., and at Kansas City International Airport, as well as aboard an aircraft en route from Reagan National Airport to Indianapolis International Airport. A fifth identical letter was also discovered in the crew room at KCI.

According to the plea agreement, Walker assured interviewing agents he had no interaction with co-workers regarding the letters; he acted completely alone both in writing and placing the letters.

Under federal statutes, Walker is subject to a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Deputy U.S. Attorney Gene Porter. It was investigated by the FBI.
Updated January 7, 2015