A shy California man has been convicted for the second time in prison of plotting to assassinate a federal judge by shaking his body with a wooden chip.
John Arthur Walthal, 66, of Laguna Beach, who was convicted in 2012 of a fake gold-mining project, is believed to have tried to kill several law enforcement officers, the Orange County Register reports. He is serving a 14-year sentence in federal prison for forgery.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Fred Shepard told the judges this week, “He wanted these people to die. He was obsessed with it.” “He was willing to let anyone who wanted to make it happen.”
Walthal shared his thirst for revenge with the detainees, who reported him to the FBI. He was then recorded by an undercover agent, who reportedly sought to have former U.S. District Judge Andrew Gilford “hit with a (explosive) wooden chip” and suffer the “beautiful and painful deaths” of FBI agents and federal prosecutors. He was killed on the spot. “
He was convicted in 2016 of plotting revenge. But a federal appeals court overturned the verdict in 2019, finding that he had been wrongly denied the right to represent himself at trial.
Audio recordings of his plot to get revenge from behind bars were played in both cases. He hoped to recruit a hit squad to kill law enforcement officers.
Walthal was convicted after less than three hours of deliberation by a jury on Friday. He is scheduled to be sentenced on August 8.
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