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LAMAR CO MAN BURNED DOWN HOUSES IN UPSON

Updated: Jan 30

FRIDAY, JANUARY 19, 2024



Georgian Pleads Guilty to Making Death Threats Against Public Officials

A Middle Georgia resident with a criminal history of arson and sending death threats pleaded guilty to mailing threatening communications in federal court today.



Travis Leroy Ball, 56, of Barnesville, Georgia, pleaded guilty to one count of mailing threatening communications before U.S. District Judge C. Ashley Royal on Jan. 19. Ball faces a maximum of five years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release and a maximum $250,000 fine. Sentencing will be determined by the Court. Ball is not eligible for parole.



 

“Death threats against public officials are taken extremely seriously by our office and will result in prison time,” said U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary. “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.”

 

“Threats against public servants are not only illegal, but also a threat against our democratic process,” said Robert Gibbs, Supervisory Senior Resident Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta’s Macon office. “While Mr. Ball’s continued criminal conduct clearly illustrates his lack of concern and compassion for others, it also illustrates his unwillingness to be rehabilitated. Hopefully, this additional sentence will finally send the message that the FBI will not tolerate his hate fueled hoaxes and will continue to hold him accountable.”

 

According to court documents, the FBI obtained a letter on March 10, 2023, addressed to U.S. District Court Judge Marc T. Treadwell in which the writer was purporting to be a U.S. Secret Service agent who investigated one of the defendant’s prior cases. In the letter—later determined to be written by the Ball—the writer demanded that the charge in Ball’s most recent federal case be dismissed, and he be let out of federal custody.

 

Ball—using the name of a former cell mate—also wrote letters to the U.S. District Court in Valdosta, Georgia, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, D.C., in March and May 2023 respectively, threatening to kill employees and their families, as well as burn down property.

 

In addition, Ball wrote a letter to the Upson County Sheriff’s Office in July 2023, purporting to be an FBI agent working on a top-secret case and demanded that Ball’s photos and personal information be removed and deleted from jail records.

 

The FBI compared the letters, handwriting, letterhead, postage stamps, verbiage and the “INMATE MAIL” stamp on each letter and determined that Ball wrote the letters while in custody. The defendant’s DNA was compared against the letters sent to the U.S. Courthouse in Valdosta and the letter impersonating a U.S. Secret Service Agent sent to U.S. District Chief Judge Treadwell. The results confirmed Ball’s DNA on both letters. Officers found the writing material and stamps in Ball’s cell. For more information about Ball’s prior convictions for threats, please visit: https://www.justice.gov/usao-mdga/pr/georgia-man-sentenced-federal- prison-threats-against-president.

 

The case was investigated by FBI with assistance from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Protective Services, the U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Upson County Sheriff’s Office.

 

Deputy Criminal Chief Will Keyes is prosecuting the case for the Government.

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