Brookshire woman pleads to mailing explosive to Obama
A Brookshire woman pleaded guilty Monday to mailing then President Barack Obama a homemade explosive, which was traced back to her through cat hair stuck on the box’s packaging.
The bomb was one of three that Julia Ann Poff, 47, admitted sending to public officials, according to court records. In her plea, she also acknowledged sending similar packages to Gov. Greg Abbott and the then-acting Social Security administrator, whose agency had apparently denied her disability benefits, documents show.
The boxes contained victim-activated improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, according to the FBI Houston field office.
“Fortunately, no one was hurt, but the threat that Poff posed and the fear she incited was serious and real,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Perrye K. Turner.
“The FBI spots, assesses and mitigates threats daily,” he said. “For the last three years, the men and women of the FBI Bryan Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) and its partners worked relentlessly to bring Poff’s life-threatening actions to an end.”
Poff’s attorney, Gus Saper, said he would reserve comments until after Poff’s sentencing, which is set for Nov. 18.
“We’re glad this part of the case is over,” Saper said.
The box was intercepted on Oct. 6, 2016 at the Bolling Air Force Base in Maryland. FBI exlosives experts examined the small, flat rate box and identified it as a homemade bomb, officials said.
The package included a micro-USB cable box, a cell phone, hobby fuse, matches, paper wadding, plastic sacks, sandpaper and two 20-ounce coke bottle caps, plus pyrotechnics and smokeless powder, according to the FBI.
An investigation linked the box to Poff or her husband, partly because investigators found cat hair under a taped address label, “microscopically consistent” with hairs taken from Poff’s gray cat, named Ash.
Poff’s daughter told authorities that the phone in the box was her old cell phone, which was last seen in August or September of 2016 in their home’s garage . Poff’s debit card was also connected to the micro-USB box.
That September the governor opened a box containing a box explosive stuffed in a cigarette pack, but it did not blow up because Abbott failed to open it as designed.
Poff was upset with Abbott because she had not received child support from her ex-husband, according to federal court documents. Her frustration with the governor stemmed from a legal battle with the Texas Attorney General’s Office, which began when Abbott was the attorney general.