Georgia man pleads guilty to threatening public officials

January 19, 2024
1 min read
Georgia man pleads guilty to threatening public officials

A Central Georgia man with a history of arson and sending death threats pleaded guilty in federal court Friday to mailing threatening communications to government officials.

Travis Leroy Ball, 56, of Barnesville pleaded guilty to one count of mailing threatening communications, a charge carrying a maximum sentence of five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000.

According to court documents, the FBI obtained a letter in March of last year addressed to U.S. District Judge Marc T. Treadwell in which the writer claimed to be a U.S. Secret Service agent who had investigated one of the defendant’s prior cases.

In the letter – later revealed to have been written by Ball – he demanded that the charge in Ball’s most recent federal cases be dismissed and that he be released from federal custody.

Using the name of a former cellmate, Ball also wrote letters to the federal court in Valdosta and to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, D.C., threatening to kill employees and their families, as well as burn down property.

“Death threats against public officials are taken extremely seriously by our office and will result in prison time,” said Peter D. Leary, U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Georgia. “Keeping people safe is the highest priority of our office and our law enforcement partners. These types of threats cannot and will not be tolerated.”

Ball also wrote a letter to the Upson County Sheriff’s Office last July, claiming to be an FBI agent working on a top-secret case. The letter demanded that Ball’s photos and personal information be removed and deleted from jail records.

The FBI compared the various letters, handwriting, letterhead, postage stamps, the language of the letters, and the “INMATE MAIL” stamp on each letter and determined Ball wrote them while in custody. Officers also found writing material and stamps in Ball’s cell.

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