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Press Release

Inmate at Red Onion State Prison Convicted of Mailing Threats to Federal Judges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Virginia
Mitchell Nicholas Threatened a Pair of Federal Judges in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Abingdon, VIRGINIA – Mitchell Norbert Nicholas, 41, an inmate at Red Onion State Prison serving a sentence for murder, was convicted yesterday by a federal jury at the conclusion of a two-day trial on four federal charges related to threats he made against a pair of federal judges. United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen made the announcement.

“Although the First Amendment protects an individual’s right to express abhorrent views, it does not license threats of death or bodily harm,” U.S. Attorney Cullen stated today.  “We will vigorously investigate and prosecute all cases involving mailed and cyber threats, like the ones at issue in this case.  I am grateful for the hard work of the U.S. Marshals Service to bring this defendant to justice.” 

Nicholas was convicted of two counts of mailing threats to injure another person and two counts of threatening to murder a United States Judge with the intent to impede, intimidate, or interfere with their performance of official duties, or with the intent to retaliate against such judge on the performance of their official duties.

According to evidence presented during trial, Nicholas was serving a murder sentence at Red Onion State Prison after being found guilty of first degree murder in the Virgin Islands in 2007. While incarcerated, Nicholas mailed a letter to United States Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller in the Virgin Islands, which stated, in part, “Dear Ruth, You thought that I was a nobody.  Now I must manifest my dream of your death.  It is more fun when the prey knows it is being hunted.  I am going to kill you!  Patiently submitted, signed Mitchell N. Nicholas.” 

In a second letter, mailed to United States District Court Judge Curtis Gomez of the Virginia Islands, Nicholas stated, in part, “Dear Curtis, You are a disappointment and must not be allowed to live any longer.  I am going to kill you!  Patiently submitted, signed Mitchell N. Nicholas.” 

The investigation of the case was conducted by the United States Marshals Service. Assistant United States Attorneys Lena Busscher and Randy Ramseyer prosecuted the case for the United States.


Updated August 23, 2019