A man who has threatened judges and lawyers in Waco and San Antonio was sentenced to 10 years in prison Friday.
Visiting Judge James Morgan adjudicated the guilt of Scott Eldred Coalwell, effectively revoking his probation, and sentenced him to the maximum term on a third-degree felony charge of online solicitation of a minor.
Coalwell, 45, pleaded “true” to the allegations in the motion to adjudicate his guilt, including accusations he sent threatening letters to his former attorneys and two judges, including 19th State District Judge Ralph Strother.
During the brief hearing, Coalwell told Morgan, “I intentionally violated my probation.”
“The defendant wished to reserve his right to appeal in this case,” his attorney, Sandy Gately said. “He had some matters he wished to take up with the appellate court concerning his original plea and, as he asserted, he deliberately violated his probation in order to get through on a writ of habeas corpus. So that would be his intent at this time.”
Coalwell, who is serving a six-year prison sentence for stalking a man in San Antonio, was transferred to the McLennan County Jail recently after state prison officials intercepted letters from Coalwell that threatened Strother and Waco attorney Darren Obenoskey.
Morgan ordered Coalwell’s 10-year term to be serve concurrently with the six-year term from Bexar County.
Strother placed Coalwell on deferred probation in 2015 after Coalwell pleaded guilty to online solicitation of a minor. Obenoskey was his attorney.
After the threatening letters were received, McLennan County prosecutors filed a motion in July to adjudicate Coalwell’s guilt — or to essentially revoke his probation — in the online solicitation case.
In deferred probation cases, defendants are not judged guilty and there is no final finding of guilt if they complete probation.
Strother recused himself from hearing the case because of the threatening letters.
Obenoskey testified briefly Friday about the threats and said, “I’m not going to let him intimidate me.”
In the letter to Strother, Coalwell says the judge “never so much as had the common decency to reply” to other letters he wrote him shortly after he was placed on probation. He said a federal marshal explained to him that Strother probably never saw the letters, but his staff receives them.
“So it was not supposed that you ignore me on purpose, but your court does. It’s all the same to you, but with me it makes me count you and your staff as my enemy,” the letter states. “It’s not easy for me to put someone on my enemy list. You have to be pretty offensive before I even think that way.”
He said he wanted Strother to know of his “new status” on his enemy list, which he said goes back 25 years.
“Nothing will happen to my enemies until I don’t care about anything,” Coalwell wrote. “Then it will get messy and personal. It doesn’t get more personal then.
“I am making plans on seeing you again, as soon as I am able. Because I have learned one thing. Nobody will do anything about my charge unless I violate the terms of my probation,” the letter states.
The letter continues, predicting that Coalwell’s case will be dismissed. He said he will then “tally up” the judge’s debt and estimates he will owe him for “at least three years plus damages.”
“Don’t worry. I won’t try to drag you back into your arena. I will see you in my arena,” the letter says.
Obenoskey said San Antonio officials, including the U.S. Marshals Service, also are investigating Coalwell after a judge and Coalwell’s attorney in San Antonio also received threatening letters from Coalwell while he was in prison. That investigation is ongoing, a federal official said Friday.
Coalwell was sentenced to six years in prison in 2016 after he sent multiple threatening text messages to a man in San Antonio who Coalwell thought stole household items from him.
Obenoskey said Coalwell made arrangements to work as a contract nurse in Afghanistan and gave many of his belongings away to the man in San Antonio. The job fell through and Coalwell demanded the man return the items, but the man refused, Obenoskey said.
That conflict produced the stalking conviction.
Obenoskey said he made Coalwell’s “enemies list” because Coalwell thinks Obenoskey should have gotten his case dismissed, despite Coalwell’s decision to plead guilty to the charge.
Coalwell’s letters wouldn’t have concerned Obenoskey that much, he said, until the most-recent letter in April mentioned the attorney’s family.
“I know he is not out right now, so I am not too concerned,” Obenoskey said. “If he was out, I might be more concerned.”