Kentucky teen who threatened to kill federal judge sentenced to two years in prison

bestep@herald-leader.comMarch 3, 2014 

A man who admitted threatening to kill a federal judge and others has been sentenced to two years in prison.

Michael A. Collins, 19, of Greenup County had told authorities he wanted to kill people involved in the federal case against his father, John Collins, who was sentenced to 11 years in prison for possessing child pornography.

Collins was a student at the Appalachian ChalleNGe Academy, a National Guard program in Harlan County for at-risk teens, in December 2012 when he told a counselor he planned to spend Christmas with his family, then kill U.S. District Judge David Bunning, U.S. Magistrate Judge Edward Atkins and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Denney, according to court records.

Collins had said he "wanted to hurt them as much as they hurt me," according to a court record.

Collins discussed details of how many weapons and how much ammunition he would need, and said he had been practicing firing from an elevated position with various rifles, according to an affidavit from Deputy U.S. Marshal Rick Kelley.

Collins also said he would go after police who had investigated his father; his father's defense attorney; and people at Limewire, the online source where Collins' father apparently had gotten child porn, and which notified authorities, according to the affidavit.

Collins was indicted on three counts of threatening to kill Bunning, Atkins and Denney. He pleaded guilty to two of the counts.

Mental-health professionals who evaluated Collins concluded that he posed a significant threat of violence; prosecutors argued that the evaluations showed that Collins could kill someone without viewing it as wrong.

U.S. District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove sentenced Collins on Feb. 27.

Bill Estep: (606) 678-4655. Twitter: @billestep1.

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