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Coastal Georgia Man Admits Threatening to Kill Witness, Federal Judge

A convicted felon and gang member faces substantial additional time in federal prison after admitting he threatened a witness and a federal judge.

Wilbert Stephens, 29, of Brunswick, Ga., pled guilty in U.S. District Court to Solicitation to Commit a Crime of Violence and Mailing Threatening Communications, said David H. Estes, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. Stephens’ guilty plea subjects him to a statutory sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison and substantial financial penalties, followed by up to three years of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.

“Less than a year ago, Wilbert Stephens was sentenced to 10 years in prison on a firearms charge related to a drug trafficking investigation, and rather than accept responsibility for his criminal behavior, he sought to retaliate against those who held him accountable,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Estes. “He’ll now learn that his actions will keep him behind bars for a very long time – and our community will be safer as a result.”

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As described in court documents and testimony, Stephens was indicted in U.S. District Court in 2018 along with 23 other defendants as part of a drug trafficking conspiracy. He later pled guilty to an Information charging him with Possession of Ammunition by a Convicted Felon and was sentenced in June 2020 to 10 years in prison. While being held in the Glynn County Detention Center awaiting transfer to federal prison, Stephens contacted a fellow member of the Gangster Disciples criminal street gang to solicit retaliation against a witness, and wrote and mailed a letter in which he threatened a federal judge.  

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Stephens remains in custody awaiting sentencing.

“Stephens’ death threats against a witness and a judge show his complete lack of remorse for the crimes he was convicted of,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “If there is anything positive to come from his actions, it’s that he will stay in prison and off our community’s streets for a much, much longer time.”

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The case was investigated by the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service, and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorney Marcela C. Mateo.

The Georgia Virtue
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