Middle Georgia man gets 2nd prison stint after death threats against Biden

Defendant sent white, powdery substance to Macon courthouse and previously targeted AJC

A Middle Georgia man with a history of threatening government officials, law enforcement and media has been sentenced to nearly three years in prison after again aiming death threats at the president and claiming he would “blow up the White House,” federal officials said.

Travis Ball, 56, of Barnesville, was sentenced Wednesday to 33 months in federal prison after he pleaded guilty to making threats against the President of the United States, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia.

Along with threats against President Joe Biden, the investigation into Ball revealed that he made death threats against local judges and law enforcement, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a news release.

According to the release, Ball sent a series of letters under an alias to local government officials in March 2021. On March 23, 2021, a threatening letter using that same alias and return address, which contained a white powder, was opened at the U.S. Courthouse in Macon. At that point, the FBI and other federal agencies began an investigation.

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Ball was quickly identified as a suspect and federal investigators executed a search warrant at his home the same day the letter was opened at the courthouse, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Agents found that Ball was sleeping on a cot in his living room and spent most of his time on his laptop and writing letters. They also found a notebook with paper matching the paper used in the threating letters.

Agents were able to use a pencil to shade over the impressions made on the top page of the notebook and determine that Ball had mailed a threating letter addressed to the president, the release said. In the letter, Ball threatened to kill the entire Biden family and blow up the White House. Officials said the letter concluded with, “HAVE SOME ANTHRAX, YOU BASTARDS!” The White House mail sorting facility received the letter on March 30, 2021, and turned it over to the U.S. Secret Service.

Ball had previously been convicted on similar charges in March 2017. In that case, he sent fake anthrax threats from jail to the State Bar of Georgia, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In June 2017, Ball was sentenced to two years in prison followed by three years of supervised release. He completed his sentence earlier this year.

“Sending death threats and purported anthrax is not protected speech — it is a crime,” U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary said.

“The sentencing in federal court of Mr. Ball is commensurate with the wasted resources and concern generated by his hate-filled hoax anthrax letter campaign,” FBI Atlanta spokeswoman Agent Keri Farley said. “While Mr. Ball’s criminal conduct clearly illustrates his lack of concern and compassion for others, it also illustrates an unwillingness to be rehabilitated.”

Ball’s sentence includes three more years of probation after his release.