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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, August 12, 2016

West Virginia Man Pleads Guilty to Mailing Threating Letters to the Former United States Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia and Mayor of Bluefield

Kenneth Godsey Faces Between 5 to 10 years’ Federal Imprisonment

ABINGDON, VIRGINIA – A West Virginia, man pled guilty today to federal charges after admitting to sending letters threatening to murder the former United States Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia and kill the mayor of Bluefield, West Virginia, announced United States Attorney John P. Fishwick Jr.

Kenneth Robert Godsey, 35, of Bluefield, West Virginia, pled guilty today in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Abingdon to two counts of mailing a threatening communication.  Pending approval by the District Court, the parties have agreed to a stipulated sentence of between 5 to 10 years’ federal imprisonment.

“Making threats to the safety of others, including public officials and those in law enforcement, is a serious matter that will be treated as such,” United States Attorney Fishwick said today. “Those who threaten the lives of others will be held accountable for their actions, as was the case here.”

According to evidence presented in District Court by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Jayne, in May 2015, Mr. Godsey sent a threatening letter from the Southwest Valley Regional Jail in Tazewell, Virginia to Booth Goodwin at his office in Charleston, West Virginia.  At the time, Mr. Goodwin was the United States Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia, the chief federal law enforcement officer for that district.  Mr. Goodwin received Mr. Godsey’s letter, which included numerous murder and sexual references.  In July 2015, Mr. Godsey sent a threatening letter from the Southwest Valley Regional Jail in Tazewell, Virginia to the Mayor of Bluefield, West Virginia, Thomas Cole.  Mr. Cole received Mr. Godsey’s letter, which stated Mr. Godsey would have others “kill” citizens of Bluefield and Mr. Godsey would personally “kill” Mr. Cole in a violent way.  In both instances, local and federal law enforcement responded to Mr. Godsey’s threatening letters.       

The investigation of the case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; United States Postal Inspection Service; Tazewell County, Virginia Sheriff’s Office; and Bluefield, West Virginia Police Department.  Special Assistant United States Attorney Kevin Jayne prosecuted the case for the United States.

Updated August 12, 2016