Arkansas Man Pleads Guilty to Mailing Threatening Letters to the United States Federal Courthouse in Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis, TN – Patrick Hayden, 32, of Charleston, Arkansas, pled guilty to sending threatening letters to U.S. District Court Judges and other federal personnel through the mail, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 876(c). D. Michael Dunavant, United States Attorney announced the guilty plea today.
According to the information presented in court, on March 6, 2018, at approximately 2:05 p.m., the United States Clerk’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee received a bomb and violence threat in the mail at 167 North Main Street, Memphis, Tennessee. The envelope, postmarked March 2, 2018, was forwarded from inmate Arron Lewis, of Marianna, Arkansas.
The envelope contained several letters from four Arkansas state inmates and a note stating "federal employees there is a bomb in the building! 901 confederates #savethestatues." The individual letters were addressed to "judges and prosecutors" and "Federal stooges in black skirts" and contained various threats to injure/kill potential victims and their families. One of the letters from Hayden contained similar threats and called for "total Aryan resurgent’s (sic)."
Law enforcement officials met with the Arkansas Department of Corrections at the East Arkansas Regional Unit about the threat mailing by Hayden and the other inmates and verified that Hayden was serving a sentence for a theft conviction along with inmate Lewis and others.
On April 10, 2018, agents interviewed Hayden at the prison who admitted to participating in the writing/mailing of the subject letter and said when he is released from prison, "I will do this" referring to bombing the Memphis Federal Building. Other direct statements from Hayden: "I am a willingly expendable pawn" and, "their life is meaningless" regarding the victims he threatened to kill. Hayden also stated, "Memphis is the place I choose, so I am now dedicated…" and, "I believe this in my heart." Hayden claims to be a member of White Aryan Resistance (WAR). Hayden stated the group chose to mail the letter to Memphis based on the demographics of the city. Hayden believes he is capable of carrying out such a plot and made statements regarding idolizing Timothy McVeigh since an early age. During the interview, Hayden also demonstrated an in-depth knowledge of bomb making materials and using cell phones as remote detonators. Forensic examinations revealed Hayden’s fingerprints on the letter and matched his known handwriting samples.
U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant said: "We reject and denounce all forms of radical violent extremism, including white supremacy and any other threats posed by racism, bigotry, and hatred. This office, along with our federal law enforcement partners, are vigilant to protect the Federal Judiciary and prevent attacks on any critical infrastructure sites in West Tennessee, including the Federal Courthouse in Memphis. We take all threats seriously, and will seek to impose all applicable enhancements and the maximum available penalty under the federal sentencing guidelines in order to punish and incapacitate this dangerous extremist for as long as possible.We are pleased that the defendant has been held accountable for this disturbing threat of violence fueled by racial hatred, and we commend the quick and thorough response of the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force."
Sentencing is set for November 8, 2019, before U.S. District Court Judge Sheryl H. Lipman. Hayden faces up to 10 years of imprisonment along with 3 years supervised release and a $250,000 fine. There is no parole in the federal prison system.
This case was investigated by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, U.S. Marshals Service and the United States Postal Inspection Service.
Assistant United States Attorney Stephen Hall is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.