wjxt logo

Inmate admits to threatening judge, asking relative to kill witness

29-year-old gets more than 14 years added to sentence after pleading guilty to charges

Photo does not have a caption

BRUNSWICK, Ga. – A 29-year-old Brunswick man had more than 14 years added to his sentence after he pleaded guilty to asking a relative to kill a witness and mailing a threatening letter to a judge.

Wilbert Stephens, a convicted felon and gang member, was also ordered to pay $7,500 in restitution to one of the victims and to serve three years of supervised release after completion of his prison term, which runs consecutively to the 10-year sentence Stephens already was serving for a prior conviction. There is no parole in the federal system.

“Serial criminal Wilbert Stephens already faced 10 years in prison for illegally possessing ammunition,” said Acting U.S. Attorney David H. Estes. “Rather than take his well-deserved medicine, he chose to compound the crime by threatening those who held him accountable.”

As described in court documents and testimony, Stephens was indicted in U.S. District Court in 2018 along with 23 other defendants as part of a drug trafficking conspiracy. He later pleaded guilty to possession of ammunition by a felon and was sentenced in June 2020 to 10 years in prison.

While being held in the Glynn County Detention Center awaiting transfer to prison, Stephens asked a relative to kill a witness and wrote and mailed a threatening letter to a judge.

Stephens pleaded guilty to solicitation to commit a crime of violence and mailing threatening communications.

“Stephens tried to use fear and intimidation to avoid being brought to justice. For this he will face steeper consequences,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “This sentence sends the message that the FBI will not permit cooperating witnesses and judges to be targeted like this, in an attempt to undermine the rule of law.”