Inmate admits he threatened Howard judge


A 37-year-old inmate pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Baltimore to charges that he threatened the life of a Howard County Circuit Court judge in letters he wrote after the judge sentenced him to prison on drug convictions.

Dwayne E. Wessel pleaded guilty to one count of mailing threatening communications based on letters he wrote in 1999 to his girlfriend, Linda A. Lovell, in which he threatened to maim and kill Judge Lenore R. Gelfman when he is released from Brockbridge Correctional Facility in Jessup.

Gelfman had sentenced Wessel in 1998 to five years after he was convicted of drug violations.

According to a statement of facts submitted in court yesterday by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tarra DeShields, Wessel wrote one letter threatening Gelfman and two other letters that threatened her and contained a poem that also threatened Detective Derrick Johnson of the Howard County police.

Police learned about the threats to Gelfman in a 1999 letter, and found two more threatening letters in a search of Lovell's house in Glenwood, according to the statement.

Wessel could face up to five years in federal prison.

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