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Don’t Want Out of Prison? Send Threatening Letters

Two insane prisoners of the South Dakota Penitentiary are facing federal charges for sending threatening letters to a federal judge in Oregon.

On June 25, 2007, and July 19, 2007, prisoner Christopher James Austad, 25, mailed threatening communications to federal judge Ann Aiken in Eugene Oregon. Jason Paul Wood, 25, sent a similar letter on July 15, 2007. The letters included threats to injure her, according to the indictment. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison.

It is unclear why the prisoners targeted Aiken, but she has recently been involved in some high profile cases, including “eco-terrorism” cases and a case where she found “The Patriot Act” unconstitutional.

Austad appears to be the “brains” of the scheme. In January, 2005, just four days before his scheduled release date, Austad threatened to kill his parole officer if he were released. Guess what…he wasn’t.

Not to be deterred, on March 27, 2006, Austad mailed a letter to federal judge Richard Battey, of Rapid City, South Dakota. Austad threatened to kill Battey and President George W. Bush, according to the indictment. He pleaded guilty in that case and was sentenced to seven years in federal prison which won’t begin to run until he is released from state custody.

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