U.S. officials are saying the 2013 attempted assassination of a Jacksonville federal judge is more significant than an attack on a single person.
Aaron Richardson, 27, was handed the maximum sentence of 343 years in prison Friday morning for the attempted murder and 23 related charges, including stealing the weapon he used to shoot at U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan.
Richardson had been previously convicted and sentenced by Judge Corrigan. Richardson was on supervised release, but was in danger of being sent back to jail for new offenses when prosecutors say he attempted to kill Corrigan.
When investigators searched Richardson’s home, they found a fake document signed by Corrigan dismissing Richardson’s charges. He’d also been searching Corrigan’s name on his computer and had Corrigan and his wife’s phone numbers both saved as “Mission Freedom” in his phone.
U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley said the attack on Corrigan wasn’t just an attack on an individual.
“It was an attack on the entire federal judicial system and the rule of law,” he said. “Judges should not fear that their impartial decisions will subject them to threats of reprisal or even worse, physical attacks.”
Bentley said a federal judge hasn’t been assassinated since Alabama Judge Robert Vance was murdered more than 25 years ago. He said Corrigan was about 2 inches away from being shot. That’s how far the bullet was from his head.