Guilty plea in judicial threat case

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A Kanawha County man pleaded guilty Thursday to three counts of retaliation against a public officer after he threatened to kill Kanawha County Circuit Judge Maryclaire Akers.

Matthew Newsome

Matthew Newsome, 29, of Charleston, admitted to Kanawha County Circuit Judge Duke Bloom that he made the threats while on suicide watch at the regional jail. He said he told a psychiatrist of his intentions toward Akers.

“How I was going to kill her,” Newsome said. “It was bad. I regret my actions. I really do your honor. I’m sitting in prison and I’m going to be sitting in prison for a while.”

Newsome’s deal with prosecutors includes the dropping of one felony county, a 1-10 year prison term and a fine not to exceed $2,000. He would also have to pay restitution.

Bloom set sentencing for Oct. 20 at 10:30 a.m.

Judge Maryclaire

Akers sentenced Newsome to 1-3 years in prison last October after he violated his supervised release in connection with another crime.

Akers released the following statement after Newsome’s indictment in June:

“I’ve had multiple reported threats made against me as a former assistant prosecutor and now as a judge,” Akers said. “I did not personally ask for any charges to be filed in this matter and only learned of the indictment today when it was returned. I wish it were unnecessary, but I appreciate law enforcement’s work. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty and I expect this case to be handled just like any other – fairly and justly. In the meantime, I will continue to do my job as I always have and I always will.”

Kanawha County Assistant Prosecutor Adam Petry represented the state in Thursday’s hearing. Charleston attorney Michael Carey represented Newsome.