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Idaho State News

Twin Falls Man Sentenced for Threatening to Kill a Prosecutor

BOISE – Nathanael Michael West, 25, of Twin Falls, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 84 months in federal prison for three counts of mailing threatening communications, U.S. Attorney Joshua D. Hurwit announced today.

In imposing his sentence, U.S. Chief District Judge David C. Nye recognized that while West did not carry out his threats, the harm he caused was “very real.” Chief Judge Nye also ordered West serve three years of supervised release following his prison sentence. West pleaded guilty to the charge on July 26, 2022.

According to court records, West admitted that on three dates between July and August 2021, he knowingly sent threatening letters through the United States Postal Service to three prosecutors in the state of Idaho. Two of the prosecutors had previously prosecuted West. In profane and graphic terms, West wrote that he would torture and murder the prosecutors.

After the prosecutors received the various letters, law enforcement officers interviewed West. After law enforcement advised him of his Miranda rights, West admitted to sending the letters. West sent the letter from the Idaho Department of Correction, where he is currently housed for other criminal acts. The 84-month sentence imposed for mailing threatening communications will begin after he has served his existing state sentence and a prior sentence for similar conduct

“Threats against public officials, including law enforcement agents and prosecutors, is a growing problem, and it is unacceptable,” said U.S. Attorney Hurwit.  “It is our privilege to seek justice for the victims in this case who, through their work, do so much to protect our communities throughout Idaho.”

U.S. Attorney Hurwit commended the investigation by the United States Postal Inspection Service.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Idaho is committed to prosecuting cases involving threats to public servants. In August 2022, Erik Ehrlin, 33, of Greenleaf, Idaho was sentenced to 78 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release for unlawful possession of a firearm and assaulting a federal officer.

According to court records, Ehrlin was investigated for vandalism on U.S. Government Property in the Mann Creak Area starting in March 2021 by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). The vandalism included markings of “SAI,” which refers to the Sovereign Alliance of Idaho. The vandalism also included threats to federal employees. During a later encounter with law enforcement, Ehrlin struck the USFS agent with his pickup truck as he attempted to flee. In Ehrlin’s campsite, law enforcement officers located a semi-automatic rifle. In Ehrlin’s truck, law enforcement located body armor, eight loaded high-capacity magazines, a 9mm handgun with four additional loaded magazines, handcuffs, a red and blue siren, and a “POLICE” patch. On Ehrlin’s person, law enforcement located a Boise Police badge. Ehrlin is not a police officer. Investigators found ammunition in Ehrlin’s possession that contained writing on it, stating “DIE McLean,” “FUCK FEDS,” and “FUK BLM.”  Ehrlin was previously convicted of sexual abuse in the first degree in Oregon and cannot lawfully possess firearms.

Additional recent cases involving threats to public servants prosecuted by the U.S. Attorneys office for the District of Idaho: