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Indictment: Man lay in wait and shot at federal judge, at home, with high-powered rifle

Posted Sep 30, 2013 3:10 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A Florida man accused of attempting to assassinate a federal judge in June by shooting a high-powered rifle into his home is facing a 25-count federal indictment (PDF).

The indictment says that Aaron Markus Richardson, 24, shot into the home of U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Corrigan in the early hours of June 22. At least one bullet of several fired into the judge's Jacksonville home came close to Corrigan, who sustained minor injuries when he was cut by glass from a window and door shattered during the incident, according to the Florida Times-Union.

Richardson faces charges including attempted murder of a U.S. district judge, felon in possession of a stolen rifle and lying to the FBI. If convicted, he could get a life prison term. The indictment also alleges that he impersonated a U.S. Navy captain and made false statements to his probation officer.

Richardson, who is being held without bail, was sentenced by Corrigan in 2011 to three years of time served and three years of probation in a business arson case, court records show. Nearly a year and a half later, Richardson sought an early termination of his probation from the judge, but was refused.

Although Richardson was listed among 51 individuals of interest in an FBI probe of the shooting, it appears that the case against him went into high gear due to an unrelated arrest for a violation of his probation. A stolen Savage Arms .30-06 rifle seized at that time was eventually matched to the weapon allegedly used to shoot at the judge, the newspaper recounts.

"The attempted murder of a sitting U.S. district judge represents an attack not only upon an individual, but on the entire judicial system and the rule of law,” said acting U.S. Attorney Lee Bentley III at a Monday news conference. “There is no more serious crime that we can prosecute.”

Corrigan, who has been under special protection since the June shooting, released a written statement through his office: “My family and I deeply appreciate the concern and good wishes expressed by so many in the community. I will have no further comment until the case is over.”

The case is being overseen by judges brought in from Alabama and Georgia to avoid a conflict of interest.

See also:

ABAJournal.com: "Shot fired into federal judge’s home"

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