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

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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)

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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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