Man Found Guilty of Plotting to Kill O.C. Judge in Wood Chipper Has Conviction Overturned

U.S. District Judge Andrew J. Guilford in his chambers in Santa Ana in January. He was the target of a plot to kidnap and torture him. (Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

U.S. District Judge Andrew J. Guilford in his chambers in Santa Ana in January. He was the target of a plot to kidnap and torture him. (Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

A former Laguna Beach resident previously found guilty of plotting to put a judge through a wood chipper had his conviction overturned this month after a federal court ruled a lower court had wrongly determined he was incapable of representing himself at trial.

The July 24 ruling from the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals allows a new trial for John Arthur Walthall.

In 2016, District Judge Cormac Carney sentenced Walthall — who was already serving a 14-year prison term for fraud — to 20 additional years after he was convicted of hatching a plan to kill the federal prosecutors, agents and judge who oversaw his earlier case.

That case began in 2007 when Walthall scammed an elderly couple into investing $5.5 million into a proposed business plan to extract gold from abandoned mines. Walthall instead used the money to cover his son’s film school tuition, pay alimony to his ex-wife and buy a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, prosecutors said.

Read the full story on LATimes.com

 

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