An Illinois man faces up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty Friday to mailing threats last year to and three other schools in the Atlanta area.
Valtrez Stewart, 29, of Oak Lawn, IL, entered the plea in U.S. District Court in Atlanta to four counts of mailing threatening communications between Jan. 28 and Feb. 2, 2011, to Marietta High, in Johns Creek, in Norcross and in Stone Mountain.
The notes, composed of words and numbers clipped out of newspapers and magazines, threatened to detonate bombs that would kill at least 20 people at each school and promised a murderous spree unless $10 million was paid by Feb. 4 to 10 specific people.
Stewart’s goal was to get those named people into trouble because he didn’t like them, according to information presented in court. He never planned to bomb the schools or kill anyone.
“School should be a place where students are safe,” U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said in a news release. “All threats to harm schools, students, teachers and school personnel will be taken seriously by law enforcement, regardless of whether the threat later is revealed to be a hoax.”
The threats arrived at Marietta High and on Feb. 1, at both schools.
By that time, Stewart was already in jail in Cook County, IL, on unrelated charges.
identified Stewart , and he initially was charged in Cobb County with two counts of felony terroristic threats and two counts of misdemeanor disruption of public schools.
An FBI task force also investigated the threats, and Stewart was indicted on the federal charges in July.
U.S. District Judge Willis Hunt is scheduled to sentence him March 28 at 10 a.m. In addition to prison time, Stewart could get a fine of up to $250,000.