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Man Sentenced to Eight Years in Federal Prison for Assaulting FBI Agent with a Gun

CHARLESTON, WV—United States Attorney Booth Goodwin announced today that a Lincoln County man was sentenced to eight years and a day in federal prison for assaulting an FBI agent with a firearm during an election fraud investigation. James A. Matheny, 62, of Midkiff, Lincoln County, West Virginia, was previously found guilty by a federal jury in May. Matheny was convicted of assaulting a federal officer and using a deadly weapon during and in relation to a crime of violence.

Evidence at trial proved that on February 28, 2012, Matheny was approached by an FBI agent and an investigator from the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office. The investigators were probing fraud in the 2010 Lincoln County primary election. When the investigators asked Matheny if they could show him some documents concerning the election, he drew a pistol and threatened to kill them. The investigators were both veteran law enforcement officials and survived the confrontation unharmed.

“We owe it to our law enforcement officers to do everything we can to protect them on the job,” said U.S. Attorney Goodwin. “We’ve seen too many tragic, senseless law enforcement deaths in situations just like this: routine encounters that suddenly turn violent. A few weeks ago, West Virginians received yet another somber reminder that law enforcement officers risk their lives every day to keep the rest of us safe. I will spare no effort in prosecuting anyone who attacks them.”

The FBI conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Thomas Ryan and Counsel to the U.S. Attorney Steve Ruby handled the prosecution. The sentence was imposed by United States District Judge Thomas E. Johnston.

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