James Lange got at least part of what he asked for.
Before his trial got under way Monday for making terroristic threats against a local judge and the county, the 35-year-old defendant sent Assistant District Attorney Jason Cashon a letter pleading for jail time.
“I am a very bad person and I can’t be trusted to return to society,” the letter stated. “There is very little to stop me from doing very bad things.”
Then he asked to be sent to prison for 99 years.
After hearing the evidence and finding him guilty Monday, a jury of his peers on Tuesday answered his request by sending him to the penitentiary for 10 years.
It was the maximum sentence allowed by law.
District Attorney John Terrill said it was “a just verdict based on the evidence.”
Lange was accused of sending Judge Shawnee Bass a letter last November threatening to do “very bad things” to the county if he was released from jail.
“I will terrorize this county like you have never seen,” the letter read in part.
At the time the letter was written, Lange was incarcerated in the Erath County Jail on an unrelated charge of criminal mischief.
During the one-day testimony, Lange’s court-appointed attorney, Heath Allen, argued that his client was mentally ill and said he suffered “tremendous abuse at the hands of his stepfather” while growing up.
He said his stepfather would play a “sick” game where he would “drown” Lange in the bathtub, then perform CPR to revive him.
Allen said his client was “absolutely unresponsive” when the verdict was read.
“It was a pretty sad situation all the way around,” he said. “I think the verdict helped the county, but I don’t think it did anything to help my client.”
Sara Vanden Berge covers courts, law enforcement, and business and political issues for the Empire-Tribune. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her work number is 968-2379, ext. 240.