Court Upholds Sentence for Paragould Anthrax Threat

JULY 28, 2005 - Posted at 12:49 p.m. CDT

PARAGOULD, AR - A federal appeals court said a man convicted of calling in an anthrax threat should serve a year in prison, regardless of whether sentencing guidelines mandated the penalty or merely suggested it.

Christopher Martin Cole pleaded guilty to calling in an anthrax threat to a Paragould school three days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Cole initially was sentenced to two years in prison, but was resentenced to just one year after the federal appeals court ordered a new sentencing hearing.  The federal appeals court upheld the one-year sentence.

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected mandatory sentencing guidelines this year and Cole asked for another review of his sentence.  The appeals court today again upheld the one-year sentence.

Cole made the anthrax threat and a number of other false threats, including one in which he said there was a bomb in a school.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)