Man gets 20 years after admitting to sending death threats to Arkansas judge, probation officer

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (AP) — A Colorado man who admitted to threatening the lives of an Arkansas judge and a probation officer has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Theodore Howell, 29, of Denver, pleaded guilty Monday to threatening a judicial officer/juror and terroristic threatening, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

Howell was accused of sending the threats in March via the Benton County Sheriff’s Office’s website, according to court documents. The threats were directed at Benton County Circuit Judge Brad Karren and Nathan Jeffrey, a probation officer, records show.

Jeffrey said Howell used a phone that he had previously used to communicate with Jeffrey to transmit the threats, according to an affidavit. In the first threat, he said he planned to kill Karren when he was walking to court and the judge would never expect it. He also threatened to kill Jeffrey at the probation office, the affidavit said.

Michael Braswell, a sheriff’s detective who interviewed Howell about the alleged threats, said Howell first claimed he had been hacked and someone else made the threats. He later admitted texting Jeffrey and making the threats against Karren, according to Braswell. Howell said he was never going to follow through with the threats and didn’t know why he did it, the affidavit said.

Benton County Circuit Judge Robin Green accepted Howell’s plea and sentenced him to 20 years in the custody of the Arkansas Department of Corrections. Howell also was ordered to complete an anger management program and to have no contact with Karren or Jeffrey.