Man charged with threat against judge

Published 10:30 pm Tuesday, March 27, 2018

A Smithfield man was arrested Thursday on suspicion of making threats against a local Circuit Court judge and his family, according to a press release from the Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office.

Joseph Anderson “Andy” Wright Jr. was arrested on a charge of threatening to bomb, burn or destroy by fire a building, structure or any means of transportation.

Investigators with the Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office received information several days ago that Wright had made threats against Fifth Circuit Judge L. Wayne Farmer and his family, according to the release from Lt. Tommy Potter.

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Farmer, the former prosecutor in Isle of Wight County, has been a Fifth Circuit judge for more than three years. The circuit covers courts in Suffolk and Isle of Wight and Southampton counties.

“Investigators have long known Wright and have interacted with him in the past, mostly concerning a neighborhood dispute,” Potter stated in the press release.

Wright has made “vague and hypothetical statements of discontent with the legal system and L. Wayne Farmer,” both in Farmer’s previous position as prosecutor and now as a judge, Potter stated.

“However, as a result of his most recent investigation, it was determined that the threats were direct, planned and researched. It was also believed that Wright had acquired the means to carry out these threats.”

Wright last lived on Gurwen Drive in Smithfield, according to the release. He is being held at Western Tidewater Regional Jail on a no-bond status. Additional charges are pending.