You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of West Virginia

Monday, January 28, 2013

Mount Olive Inmate Pleads Guilty To Mailing Threatening Communications

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin announced today that a Mt. Olive Correctional Complex inmate pleaded guilty in federal court for mailing threatening communications.   Joseph Michael Pettaway, 38, admitted that beginning around 2000 and continuing until 2012, he wrote several letters that contained threats to harm a former acquaintance.

Specifically, Pettaway admitted that on approximately October 6, 2011, he mailed a letter to his former acquaintance.  The defendant was incarcerated Mt. Olive Correctional Complex at the time the letter was mailed. Pettaway admitted that the letter contained descriptions of violent acts that he intended to commit, including beating and raping his former acquaintance, following his release from prison. The letter was mailed from Mount Olive Correctional Complex and delivered to the individual’s Huntington residence.    

Pettaway admitted that along with the letter was an attached violation report containing information about an incident at the prison.  The violation report provided details of an incident in which the defendant was reprimanded for throwing boiling water onto another inmate.  The inmate suffered second degree burns as a result of the incident. 

Pettaway faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced on May 1, 2013 by United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr. 

The FBI conducted the investigation.  Assistant United States Attorney Blaire Malkin is in charge of the prosecution. 

Updated January 7, 2015