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Presidential Death Threat Nets Four More Years; Mentally Ill Oregon Prisoner Continues Murder Plots

On August 3, 2011, a mentally ill Oregon prisoner who pleaded guilty to sending letters threatening to kill President Barack Obama was sentenced to four more years in prison.

David Earl Anderson, Jr., 28, suffers from "significant mental health issues," according to his attorney C. Renee Manes. He served five years in the Oregon State Hospital (OSH), before escaping the first time.

In August 2007, Anderson was sentenced to prison for identity theft, supplying contraband, using a minor in a drug offense and escape, according to court records.

At some point thereafter, prison officials transferred Anderson back to OSH. In August 2009, however, using bolt cutters that had been smuggled in to him, Anderson cut a hole in a fence and fled in a getaway car driven by his girlfriend. They were arrested the next day in Utah and Anderson was returned to prison.

On October 27, 2009, he wrote a letter to a Utah family, discussing a "plot" to kill President Obama. "If they do not do the job by the time I get out, then I will find a way to do it because all this is doing is making the white race look weak by taking orders from a (racial epithet), and our race needs to stay strong," wrote Anderson. "I am 100 percent down with my own white race."

Anderson scribbled threats on a prison grievance form and wrote at least six letters threatening to kill Obama, according to federal prosecutor Stephen Peifer. Far from shy about sharing his beliefs, Anderson sent a letter to the Oregon State Police and another to the United States Attorney's Office, said Peifer.

"I feel it is my right to feel the way I do, and if I want to kill the president like I plan on doing, that is also my right," wrote Anderson in his December 10, 2009 letter to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

During interviews with Secret Service agents, Anderson admitted to sending the threatening letters, according to Peifer. However, the Secret Service investigation found no evidence of a legitimate plot to kill Obama.

Even so, on October 12, 2010, Anderson pleaded guilty to threatening to kill the president, which carries up to five years in federal prison. Peifer recommended a four year sentence but Manes said one year, concurrent to his current sentence, would be more appropriate given Anderson's severe mental illness.

Anderson had a November 2012 release date on his 2007 sentence, but still faced prosecution for the 2009 OSH escape. That's where he seems to have sealed his fate.

After his October 2010 guilty plea, Anderson wrote at least two more letters, soliciting assistance in killing Paige Clarkson, the Marion County deputy district attorney who is prosecuting Anderson on the August 2009 OSH escape and related witness tampering charges. Apparently, he thought Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent John D. Hallock would be a good hitman.

"You are the only person I can trust to help me in a situation like this," Anderson wrote in a letter to Hallock. "I need help to hire somebody to kill the state district attorney on my case. She is doing what she can to have me put in prison for even longer so she can have it set up to have me killed."

Jail staff intercepted that letter but a second letter reached Anderson's friend, who promptly turned it over to the FBI. In that letter, Anderson stressed that he is serious about finding someone to kill Clarkson.

During an August 3, 2011 sentencing hearing before United States District Court Judge Anna J. Brown, Peifer called Hallock to testify about Anderson's letters.

Judge Brown rattled off Anderson's extensive criminal record, noting "and he's only 28 years old." Ultimately, Brown determined that Anderson is a mentally ill man who poses a threat to society until his impulses can be controlled.

As such, Judge Brown followed the government's recommendation and sentenced Anderson to an additional four years in prison.

Sources: The Oregonian; The Statesman Journal

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