Jurors found James Edward Satterfield, 59, guilty but mentally ill on all five counts he was charged with. They were two counts of terroristic threats with intent to retaliate, and three counts of terroristic threats.
On Dec. 30, 2012, Cobb Superior Court Judge Reuben Green was at his home and opened a letter that had come in the mail addressed to his wife. In the five-page, typed letter, Satterfield outlined his intent to kill the judge’s wife and said he “would kill and eat their children,” according to the arrest warrant.
The letter went on to state that he “would cook them first to make them more palatable.”
Sheriff’s deputies were notified and Satterfield was arrested the same day and placed in the county jail without bond.
A Taurus handgun known as “The Judge” was reportedly found in his car at the time of his arrest, and on his computer, investigators said they found his copy of the letter as well as a photo of the judge’s house.
In 2011, Green presided over Satterfield’s divorce case, which Satterfield himself filed. The divorce was finalized in July 2012.
Green and his wife both testified during the trial about the “terror” they and their two young children “continue to experience as a result of the threat,” according to a statement released Thursday by District Attorney Vic Reynolds’ Office.
Chief Assistant District Attorney Don Geary brought the case for the state. He told jurors: “No reasonable person in their right mind could not feel threatened by the letter.”
Defense attorney Maddox Kilgore of Marietta did not dispute that Satterfield had written and mailed the letter, but argued he did so as a result of delusional compulsion and should be found not guilty by reason of insanity.
Kilgore did not return phone calls Thursday seeking comment on the verdict.
Cobb Sheriff Neil Warren released a statement after Satterfield’s arrest saying he takes such threats “very seriously.”
A visiting judge, Donald Howe, was brought in from Douglas County to preside over Satterfield’s criminal case after all Cobb Superior Court judges recused themselves. Jury selection began Jan. 27.
Satterfield will be sentenced at a later date. The first two counts each carry a maximum penalty of five to 10 years in prison and a $50,000 fine. The three other counts could each result in one to five years in prison and a $1,000 fine. The guilty but mentally ill verdict means Satterfield will likely be sentenced to prison with psychiatric treatment.