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Idaho inmate gets fed prison time for mailing threat to Washington state judge

UPDATED: Wed., Sept. 27, 2017, 10:57 p.m.

Brian Ray McClure (IDOC)
Brian Ray McClure (IDOC)

An Idaho prisoner with a long record of attacking guards has been convicted of mailing death threats to a Washington state judge and sentenced to a federal prison term after he leaves state custody.

Brian Ray McClure, 55, pleaded guilty to mailing letters to King County Superior Court Judge Jim Rogers, threatening the judge and his family – even though the Seattle judge had no connection to the Idaho inmate’s case.

“It’s sort of a mystery why this particular judge was targeted,” said Joshua Hurwit, the assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted the case.

During court hearings, McClure suggested he acted at the behest of other inmates to avoid some kind of harm. McClure’s conviction came after several delays for a mental competency hearing; those records are sealed.

“He has mental health history,” Hurwit said.

According to Idaho Department of Correction records and state court records, McClure was first sentenced to state prison in 2002 in Pocatello, receiving a four-to-10 year sentence for burglary. He subsequently was convicted in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2016 on charges including assault and battery on a correctional officer, propelling bodily fluids, and injury to jail property, each time receiving additional years of prison time.

“As you can see from the record, he acts out in certain ways, and continued to do so throughout my experience in handling this case,” Hurwit said.

Jeff Ray, spokesman for the Department of Correction, said McClure has been incarcerated under the jurisdiction of IDOC since Feb. 11, 2002. His 2003 conviction stemmed from “an incident at the Idaho Correctional Institution-Orofino” and the others occurred while he was in the Idaho Maximum Security Institution, where he remains.

McClure pleaded guilty in each of his cases.

On April 15, 2015, he mailed two nearly identical, handwritten letters to the King County judge, who then was serving as chief criminal judge for the court and is now the assistant chief presiding judge in the civil department, threatening to kill the judge and his family.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Secret Service and the Idaho Department of Correction.

Under a plea agreement, prosecutors dropped one of two charges of mailing threatening communications, a felony that could have brought up to 10 years in federal prison plus up to $250,000 in fines for each count. McClure pleaded guilty to one count, and was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison, to start either on March 1, 2019, or earlier if he’s granted parole from the Idaho prison before that date.