A federal judge sentenced a 47-year-old Texas woman to 10 years behind bars for mailing explosives to former President Obama and others.
Julia Poff pleaded guilty to transportation of explosives with the intent to kill, injure, and intimidate a person in July after she mailed explosives to Obama, Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, and Social Security Administration commissioner Carolyn Colvin. Poff, who worked at a fireworks stand for nine years, rigged booby-trapped explosive packages and mailed them to the three public officials.
The packages mailed to the White House were stopped by postal workers at the Bolling Air Force Base before reaching their intended target. The Texas governor’s mansion was evacuated after the explosive package sent to Abbot was opened but did not detonate because it was not opened in the same way Poff had designed it to open.
Poff targeted Obama, Abbot, and Colvin because she was upset that she had been denied Social Security disability benefits, and her husband had not paid his child support, which she blamed on the state of Texas.
The FBI confirmed that Poff was responsible for mailing the explosives after they matched a hair found in one of the packages to that of Poff’s cat.
In her trail, she begged Judge Vanessa Gilmore to be lenient on her sentence because she claimed to have helped many poor people and was a good Christian. But Gilmore didn’t buy it.
“Talk to me, don’t be reading me Bible verses,” Gilmore explained. “I need to understand why you’re saying you’ve done good for so many people and how that squares with the fact that you made bombs and sent them ... with the intent to kill.”
During the trial, Poff was caught in a lie after saying, “I don’t know what we’re doing here. We had nothing to do with this. We did not do this.” She later consulted with her attorney and flipped her story, telling the court, “All I can say is I’m sorry. I’m sorry to the people I’ve hurt."
Gilmore gave Poff the highest possible prison sentence for her crimes, saying, “The court finds the defendant’s actions were calculated, pervasive, and continuous over an extended period of time.”