Sheriff Danny Hickman has announced his office has been investigating a threat against Boone County Judicial Officers and Law Enforcement. Sheriff Hickman said Investigator Marc Arnold received a report on Friday, December 3rd, in which District Judge Fred Kirkpatrick said he received a letter from Justin Wooden, an inmate in the Arkansas Department of Corrections. The letter, described as offensive and threatening in nature, felt as though it had powder on it. Judge Kirkpatrick also found a smaller piece of paper in the letter referring to Anthrax and making threats against Boone County Judges and Law Enforcement.
Investigators contacted the Dept. of Corrections to confirm that Wooden was still incarcerated and quickly determined he did not have access to any dangerous materials. Investigators also asked the US Postal Service to assist in the investigation because they have equipment capable of examining suspicious materials on site. The US Postal Service immediately dispatched a Postal Inspector to Boone County and the FBI also responded due to the nature of the threat. Cooperating with the federal agents, investigators were able to determine no actual threat was present.
Sheriff Hickman said the matter was handled as though the threat could have been real and noted there was no danger to the public at any time during the course of the investigation. He also said the investigation is continuing and although Wooden faced the possibility of being charged federally, he anticipated that charges would be filed in Boone County Circuit Court in the near future. Boone County is pursing charging Wooden with “Use of a Hoax Substance” and “Communicating a terroristic threat”. Both charges are felonies and, if convicted, could add several years to Wooden’s prison sentence.
Sheriff Hickman felt it was possible Wooden was purposely trying to be charged federally in order to be housed in the federal prison system rather than in Arkansas.