FT. LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – The South Florida woman accused of sending threatening emails that led to a massive lockdown of Broward schools is scheduled to plead guilty.
Court documents filed on behalf of Ellisa Martinez, 48, indicate she will change her plea from ‘not guilty’ to ‘guilty’ on Monday, the day her trial was to begin.
Martinez is charged with making a threat in interstate commerce, which carries a maximum five-year prison sentence.
Last November all 300 county schools and several government buildings were placed on lockdown after an e-mail was sent to radio show host Joyce Kaufman. It warned that “something big” would happen at a government building or school. According to the federal complaint filed Nov. 12th, the writer of the e-mail claimed to be “planning something big around a government building here in Broward County, maybe a post office, maybe even a school, I’m going to walk in and teach all the government hacks working there what the 2nd amendment is all about.”
The e-mail said the writer liked that Kaufman had encouraged people to “exercise our second amendment rights.” Martinez then reportedly called the Pompano Beach station later that morning and claimed that her husband, Bill Johnson, was going to go to a school in Pembroke Pines and start shooting, according to federal authorities who said they traced the call.
The incident left 275,000 students on lockdown for several hours. The South Florida district is the nation’s sixth-largest.
Kaufman, who stumped for Congressman Allen West during last fall’s campaign, stepped down as West’s chief of staff a day after the lockdown, saying she wanted to avoid any repercussions against him.
Kaufman believes the threat was sent to her in response to a comment she made during a political rally over the summer for West. The comment, which was replayed on MSNBC in the days preceding the threats, quoted Kaufman as saying, “if ballots don’t work, bullets will.”
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