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Barling Man Pleads Guilty to Threatening Federal Judge

June 27, 2024

From the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of Arkansas

FORT SMITH – A Barling man pled guilty today to one count of Threatening a Federal Official and one count of Receipt of Child Pornography. The Honorable Judge Mark E. Ford presided over the change of plea hearing in the United States District Court in Fort Smith.

According to the plea agreement, Fort Smith Police Department was dispatched to a local shopping establishment pursuant to a 911 call wherein the caller stated the defendant, Rodney Dewayne Sheffield, age 40, had traveled to the shopping establishment in Fort Smith, Arkansas with the intent to shoot people.

Officers with the Fort Smith Police Department subsequently made a traffic stop on Sheffield for operating his vehicle in a reckless manner on Rogers Avenue in Fort Smith. During the traffic stop, the officer observed a rifle on the passenger side floorboard of the vehicle.  The Officer separated Sheffield from the rifle and located ammunition on his person. 

Further investigation showed Sheffield had a pending Social Security disability claim and was upset at the status of the claim. A witness stated Sheffield had traveled to the building where the Social Security administration offices were located and told him, “I’ve had enough, I can’t take it anymore.” The individual further stated Sheffield told him he was going to shoot the Social Security Administrative Law Judge. Sheffield stated he wanted to do this to “teach the Government a lesson.” The individual stated he called 911 after speaking to Sheffield.

Subsequently a search warrant was obtained for Sheffield’s phone. Officers located images and videos of child pornography including children as young as approximately 5 years old on Sheffield’s phone.

Sheffield’s sentencing date will be set at a later time. He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment for Threatening the Federal Official and a minimum of 5 years imprisonment, maximum of 20 years for the Receipt of Child Pornography. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes of the Western District of Arkansas made the announcement.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Office of the Inspector General Social Security Administration and Fort Smith Police Department are investigating the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Carly Marshall is prosecuting the case.

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