A West Virginia man who threatened to murder Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., and his family is headed to prison for 18 months, after reaching a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney's office in the state's Southern District.
Steven Anthony Major, 50, initially faced up 10 years behind bars after admitting to making a series of alarming phone calls to Manchin's Charleston district and Capitol Hill offices in March 2014.
The Barboursville, W.Va., man made at least three calls to the senator's district office and at least one to D.C., beginning on a Monday and ending on a Thursday, according to an FBI affidavit. Major left voice messages in which he identified himself and told the senator to stay out of the state.
"You a dead man, don't f*** with me," Major said in one message, the evidence states. "Your kids and your wife are done," the documents allege Major threatened. During one call he allegedly stated, "[Senator Manchin] and his family going to have bullets in their brain [sic]."
While many of the calls were made from blocked numbers, law enforcement was able to trace one back to a cellphone number registered to Major. The investigation included FBI, West Virginia State Police, and Capitol Police.
Manchin's chief of staff indicated to investigators that the blocked caller's voice was the same as the person who called from the identified number, the affidavit states.
On March 21, 2014 — hours after his final, 10:55 p.m. threat — law enforcement arrested Major. Nearly 11 months later, Major pleaded guilty to the four-count indictment and admitted making the calls.
A federal judge sentenced Major to 18 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release.
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