Talladega County Man Sentenced to 51 Months for Mailing Series of Hoax Anthrax Letters
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 01, 2011|
BIRMINGHAM—A federal judge today sentenced a Talladega County man to four years and three months in prison for mailing a series of hoax anthrax letters in Alabama in March and April last year, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance.
U.S. District Judge Abdul Kallon sentenced CLIFTON LAMAR “CLIFF” DODD, 40, of Lincoln, on 23 counts of mailing letters that contained a threat in the form of white powder that could reasonably have been perceived as the biological toxin, anthrax. Dodd pleaded guilty to the charges just before his trial was to begin in July.
One of the threat letters was delivered to U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby’s office in the Robert S. Vance Federal on March 8, 2010. Other white-powder letters Dodd has pleaded guilty to sending were addressed to: Alabama Sen. Jim Preuitt of Talladega, two Talladega County state court judges, Talladega County Sheriff Jerry Studdard, several Talladega County Jail inmates who were in the jail at the same time as Dodd, and police investigators from both the Lincoln and Oxford police departments who previously had interviewed Dodd.
Dodd acknowledged sending 15 hoax anthrax letters between March 6 and April 5, 2010. He also pleaded guilty to mailing another eight letters containing white powder on April 24, 2010, and to conspiring with another man to mail those letters. His co-defendant pleaded guilty last year to the conspiracy charge.
During the sentencing hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Whisonant said Dodd’s actions in this case terrorized multiple innocent victims, victims who would never forget how they felt when they thought they had been exposed to a deadly biological toxin. Dodd deserved the highest sentence the law allows, Whisonant said.
“Innocent victims who Dodd didn’t even know were placed in fear for their lives,” Vance said. “These victims thought they had been exposed to a deadly toxin. Criminal activity like Dodd perpetrated will be aggressively investigated and prosecuted in the Northern District of Alabama,” she said.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the FBI, the Federal Protective Service and the Talladega County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Whisonant prosecuted the case.