LITTLE ROCK – Multiple death threats, including repeated threats against FBI agents and a former United States attorney, earned a Dewitt man 40 years in federal prison. Clayton Jackson, 35, whose legal address is Minnesota but who was living in Dewitt at the time of the original threats, received a 480-month sentence on Wednesday from US District Court judge Susan Webber Wright.
Jackson originally pleaded guilty to all five counts on November 2, 2020, on three charges of threatening to assault and murder a federal official and two cases of sending threatening communications. Each of the five counts was subject to a maximum penalty of 10 years. On Wednesday, Judge Wright Jackson sentenced Jackson to a maximum of 10 years on each count and then carried out the sentences for Counts 1 through 4 in sequence and simultaneously for Count 5 to arrive at the 40-year sentence. There is no parole in the federal system.
On changing the hearing, Jackson admitted that he had sent two letters to FBI headquarters in Little Rock, one in February 2020 and one in March 2020, threatening to kill several FBI employees he believed that they were involved in an unrelated criminal matter. Both letters were signed by Jackson. After the FBI received and verified the correspondence, an FBI special agent who was not named in the letters interviewed Jackson. During the interview, Jackson admitted that he had sent the letters and had affirmed his intention to kill the people named in the letters. During the interview, Jackson said the letters were “not a threat but a promise” and admitted that he knew it was a crime to send the letters but said “I cannot be sentenced forever” when he stated his wish to kill the FBI employees. Jackson was indicted by a federal grand jury on June 4, 2020.
At the hearing on Wednesday, an FBI agent testified that Jackson continued to write letters after the indictment threatening to kill the same people named in the original letters as well as other unnamed civilians. The FBI received three letters that Jackson wrote while in custody expressing his intention to escape from prison and kill other people, including former United States attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Cody Hiland. According to a statement on Wednesday, the latest letter in which Jackson stated that two civilians had a “price tag” was dated March 11, 2021 and addressed to the “White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.” Additional testimony from Wednesday described an unsuccessful escape attempt by Jackson from Prairie County Jail on March 7, 2021, in which Jackson assaulted a local jailer.
“This accused’s repeated threats to law enforcement were a failed attempt to intimidate those who vowed to protect and serve,” said acting United States attorney Jonathan D. Ross. “This long sentence should serve as a warning: threats like this will not be tolerated and will not prevent law enforcement from doing their vital job of protecting our communities.”
“We are delighted with today’s court decision regarding Clayton Jackson,” said Jason Van Goor, FBI’s special adviser in charge of Little Rock. “We take every threat to law enforcement seriously and believe that Mr. Jackson’s 40-year prison sentence will serve as a warning to anyone thinking of threatening federal agents and officials. As always, we thank our partners in the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Arkansas for their excellent work on this case. “
In explaining her verdict, Judge Wright highlighted Jackson’s continued post-indictment criminal behavior and lack of remorse.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI and followed by United States Assistant Attorney Chris Givens.
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