Composite image of close up on classy businessman wearing handcuffs in 3d room with huge windows
Composite image of close up on classy businessman wearing handcuffs in 3d room with huge windows (Wavebreak Media LTD)

A federal prisoner was convicted by a Fort Worth federal jury on Dec. 11th of attempting to solicit the murder of U.S. District Judge John McBryde.

Phillip Monroe Ballard faces a sentencing hearing before U.S. District Judge Donald E. Walter on March 17th in the Fort Worth U.S. District Courthouse.

According to a Sept. 27, 2012 criminal complaint against Ballard, a FBI special agent alleged that Ballard was willing to pay $100,000 in cash to have McBryde killed. [See "FBI Agent Alleges Prisoner Wanted Judge John McBryde Dead" Texas Lawyer, Oct. 8, 2012.] Ballard was in federal custody awaiting trial before McBryde for allegedly filing false tax returns when Ballard made the offer to a cooperating source [CS], according to the complaint. Ballard was specific in how he wanted McBryde killed: “Ballard told the CS to have the ‘killer’ position himself within the Burnett Plaza Building located across the street from the Federal Courthouse in Fort Worth. Ballard stated from that vantage point the killer could shoot the judge as he enters the courthouse with a high-powered rifle affixed with a scope.”

Warren St. John, a Fort Worth solo who represents Ballard, did not return a telephone call seeking comment. Mark McIntye, an assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas who prosecuted Ballard also did not return a call for comment. McBryde declined to comment.