Convicted Arsonist Is Sentenced To Prison For Mailing Threatening Letters to A Witness

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Clinton Douglas Cole, 55, of Caroleen, N.C., was sentenced to 24 months in prison and three years of supervised release today, for mailing threatening letters to a witness, announced Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Chief U.S. District Judge Martin Reidinger presided over the sentencing hearing.

U.S. Attorney King is joined in making today’s announcement by Tommy D. Coke, Inspector in Charge of the Atlanta Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), which oversees Charlotte.

According to filed documents and court proceedings, in October 2015, an individual witnessed the defendant set fire to a residence in Rutherford County. The defendant was convicted of state charges related to the arson and was sentenced to prison. Court documents show that in January 2020, while Cole was still serving time in prison for the state conviction, he mailed two threatening letters to the witness. In one letter, Cole reminded the witness of a previous threat he made to burn down the witness’s house. In a second letter, Cole wrote to the witness, “You are going to wish that you would not have stuck your nose were [sic] it did’nt [sic] belong,” and threatened to physically harm the witness and the witness’s child. On December 22, 2021, Cole pleaded guilty to mailing threatening communications.

The investigation was handled by USPIS. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexis Solheim, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville, prosecuted the case.