Fla. Man Gets 343 Years |for Trying to Kill Judge

     (CN) – A Jacksonville, Florida, man was sentenced on Monday to 343 years in prison for attempting to assassinate a federal judge and 23 related offenses.
     On March 17, 2016, a jury found Aaron Richardson, 27, guilty of attempting to murder U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan, numerous firearm offenses, failure to appear at court hearings, impersonating an officer of the U.S. military, and making false statements to the FBI and U.S. Probation Office.
     According to evidence presented at trial, Judge Corrigan had previously convicted and sentenced Richardson for attempting to make an incendiary device in a 2008 case.
     After being jailed for that crime, Richardson began serving a term of supervised release. Subsequently, he was arrested for multiple new offenses and faced state prosecutions in Clay, Duval, and Volusia counties, as well as supervised release proceedings in federal court.
     Prosecutors said Richardson devised a plan, which he named “Mission Freedom,” that involved preparing a false order purportedly signed by Judge Corrigan, dismissing all of his pending charges, as well as other benefits.
     Richardson planned the murder so that Judge Corrigan could not refute the sham order. As part of the plan, he conducted Internet searches to locate Judge Corrigan and the potential murder weapon, investigators said.
     On June 21, 2013, Richardson stole a Savage Arms .30-06 rifle from a local Sports Authority store. The theft and Richardson’s prior casing of the store were captured on store video surveillance.
     On the night of June 22, 2013, Richardson went to Judge Corrigan’s residence and, at 12:30 a.m., he fired a single shot at the judge using the stolen rifle. The shot missed the judge by less than two inches and instead hit a window frame. Forensic evidence confirmed Richardson’s presence at the scene of the crime, prosecutors said.
     Richardson was captured three nights later by the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force, and immediately after his arrest he made multiple false statements about the crime to the FBI.
     Richardson was sentences by U.S. District Judge L. Scott Coogler.
     “The attack on Judge Corrigan was an assault on the entire federal judicial system and the rule of law,” said U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III said in a written statement. “The sentence imposed today reflects the seriousness of the crime and the importance of protecting our federal judiciary.
     “Judges should not have to fear that their impartial rulings will subject them to threats of reprisal or attacks from criminal defendants or other disgruntled litigants,” Bentley said.

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