January 28, 2004 - Posted at 12:20 p.m. CDT
LITTLE ROCK, AR - A father and son today pleaded guilty in federal court, mid-way through their trial on charges they mailed a poisonous snake to a man with whom they had a dispute.
Pocahontas lawyer and former district judge Bob Castleman was on trial with his son, Jerrod Castleman. They were charged with mailing a copperhead to Albert Coy Staton in September 2002.
Late this morning, they each entered guilty pleas to mailing a threatening communication.
The men will be sentenced later. The maximum penalty is five years but federal sentencing guidelines show they could get less time.
Bob Castleman could face 27 to 33 months in prison. Jerrod Castleman could serve between 31 and 44 months.
The men will be free pending sentencing. Last week, U.S. District Judge George Howard, Jr. revoked bond for the defendants after they flunked drug tests. A subsequent test showed the men no longer had drugs in their systems, so Howard heard their pleas today.
Other charges against the men were dropped.
No one was hurt by the snake but the reptile was killed by a shotgun blast fired by a Randolph County sheriff's deputy.