MIssouri man pleads guilty to anthrax hoax

A St. Genevieve, Missouri, man has pleaded guilty to sending a letter to a U.S. Senior Judge of the Eighth Circuit of Appeals containing white powder and a threatening letter.

Jeffrey Phillips was sentenced eight years in federal prison for threatening to kill U.S. Senior Judge C. Arlen Beam in a threatening letter sent to Beam's office at the federal courthouse in Lincoln, Missouri on July 13. The letter threatened to kill beam and said that enclosed white powder was anthrax. A subsequent investigation revealed that the powder was not anthrax.

Phillips' name and return address were on the letter and an investigation by the FBI determined that he was the source of the letter. Phillips, at the time, was a convicted sex offender being held at the Ste. Genevieve County Detention Center.

Investigators learned during an interview that Phillips was angry with Beam over how cases involving some of Phillips' friends and associates were handled by Beam.

Authorities also believe, based on other correspondence, that Phillips' motivation for threatening Beam was to be moved from the Missouri prison system to a federal facility.

Sentencing for Phillips took place on Monday. He was returned to custody in Missouri for further proceedings, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. The eight year federal sentence will follow the completion of his state sentence currently being served in Missouri.