Florida inmate says anthrax hoax letter was for his safety

An inmate at the Putnam Country jail in Jacksonville, Florida, recently told a court he sent a judge an envelope containing a white powder because he sought to save himself by receiving a federal sentence.

Benjamin David Gore of Palatka, Florida, was sentenced to three years and one month at a federal prison for sending a judge an envelope filled with crushed aspirin and a letter with the misspelled word “antrax” on it, according to Jacksonville.com.

Gore attempted to explain himself to U.S. District Judge Anne C. Conway. He said that while in jail on other charges he began to talk to federal authorities. Other inmates, in response, began to refer to him as a snitch.

Gore told Conway that he had begun to fear for his life and thought his best way out of the situation might be to receive a federal indictment.

 “I would never hurt nobody,” Gore said, according to Jacksonville.com. “I went about it the wrong way and I apologize.”

In February 2009, Gore sent the letter, which was addressed to 7th Circuit Judge Edward E. Hedstrom’s chambers. It never made it out of the jail. Authorities quickly intercepted it, Jacksonville.com reports.

In Gore’s jail cell, corrections officers found hand-written directions on how to build pipe bombs, other letters threatening to blow up the federal courthouse and kill Hedstrom and a hand-drawn map of the judicial parking lot at the Putnam County Courthouse.

Last December, Gore pleaded guilty to a single count of false information and hoaxes, according to Jacksonville.com. Judge Conway stressed that the sentence was at the highest range possible through the guidelines. The sentence also includes mental health treatment and two years of supervised release.