Inmate pleads guilty to threatening East Texas federal judge

Marilyn Tennissen May 19, 2009, 10:52am


An inmate serving time in a Texas state correctional facility admitted he had sent a threatening letter to a federal judge in Texarkana.

Patrick Neil Womack pleaded guilty May 14 to mailing a threatening letter to U.S. District Judge David Folsom in the Texarkana Division of the Eastern District of Texas, according to a press release from the office of U.S. Attorney John Bales.

Information presented in court showed that Womack,34,from Liberty, was serving time at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's Clement Unit in Amarillo when he wrote to Judge Folsom on June 21, 2007.

In the letter sent to the judge's office, Womack wrote that he was about to escape from the state prison and kill Judge Folsom.

Court records show that he also sent a threatening letter to U.S. District Court Clerk David Maland, however Womack's plea agreement only addressed the threat to the judge.

Womack was indicted by a federal grand jury on July 1, 2008, and charged with sending the threatening letter.

He faces up to 10 years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not been set. Magistrate Judge Charles Everingham presided is presiding.

This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Denise O. Simpson.

The press release does not indicate if Womack and Judge Folsom had any previous contact. A connection between the judge and the inmate could not be determined by a preliminary search of court records.

A search of court records for the Eastern District of Texas shows that 16 years ago, Womack was sentenced to 37 months in jail on a charge of mailing threatening communications on April 23, 1993.

In another case, he was sentenced to 60 months in jail, to run consecutively with other sentences, on a charge of extortion, racketeering and threats. Womack entered a plea agreement on Aug. 13, 1993.

Both of the 1993 convictions were prosecuted in the Beaumont Division of the Eastern District and heard before former U.S. District Judges Joe Fisher and Richard Schell, respectively.

A check of the Texas Department of Corrections Web site indicates that Womack was sentenced to life in prison for a series of crimes in Liberty County in 1991. Charges include three counts of burglary of a habitation, forgery and delivery of a controlled substance. On Oct. 17, 1991, Womack was charged with escape. He received the life sentence for all the Liberty County crimes on Dec. 12, 1992.

Then in 2004, Womack was charged with murder in Lubbock County. He received a 40 year sentence on July 9, 2007.

Judge Folsom has presided over the Texarkana Division since 1995. In January, he succeeded Judge Thad Heartfield in Beaumont as the chief judge of the Eastern District.

His biography states that prior to serving as a federal judge, he was in private practice in Texarkana and had been deputy prosecuting attorney for Lafayette County, Ark.

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