Man who threatened Arkansas mayors pleads guilty

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A Mineral Springs, Ark., man who sent threatening letters to seven Arkansas mayors pleaded guilty Wednesday in a Texarkana federal court.

Maverick Dean Bryan, 56, appeared before U.S. District Judge Susan Hickey with Texarkana attorney Jeff Harrelson. Bryan pleaded guilty to seven counts of mailing threatening communications. As part of his plea arrangement, the government has agreed to dismiss a charge of felon in possession of a firearm when Bryan returns to court for formal sentencing later this year, Assistant U.S. Attorney David Harris said.

At Wednesday’s hearing, Bryan told Hickey that he, “never meant no man no harm,” and described the handwritten letters he mailed to the mayors of Ashdown, Lewisville, Prescott, Murfreesboro, Hope, Nashville and DeQueen as a mistake. The letters, all postmarked Jan. 5, 2015, threatened to hang the mayors from trees on the courthouse lawn if they didn’t return the Ten Commandments and prayer to area classrooms and stop teaching Common Core curriculum.

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Bryan signed the letters as Lt. Gary Owen, the same name used in a Thrifty Nickel ad soliciting a $23 million loan and volunteers for a Christian militia to overthrow the U.S. government in the months before the letters were mailed, according to court records.

Harris said Bryan’s plea agreement includes 12 to 18 months in federal prison. Bryan was serving a term of probation in Howard County, Ark., for being a felon in possession of a firearm at the time of his arrest for the letters. When he was arrested last year, Bryan had guns in his home.

Bryan will return to court for formal sentencing before Hickey in several months. He is currently in federal custody.

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