It's not entirely clear from federal court documents when Jesse Brister earned the nickname "Bozo." Probably, it was around the time he became a member of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas.
In any case, he's earned it. He proved it upfront when he joined an organization whose members have a tendency to get high on meth and murder each other, and he secured it on March 21, 2013, when he mailed a letter to U.S. Attorney Jim Jacks threatening multiple district attorneys, judges and, apparently, former U.S. Department of Justice criminal division chief Larry Brewer:
[p]roudly, I am writing this letter to this Federal Building ... but I am intending it to the Federal Department point blank. Our demands are simple; you have apprehended members of our family; Big Terry, Jive, Baby Huey, and others in our Dallas/Ft. Worth region... If your federal government does not drop the current charges on these ABT members my circle/family will start with DA's not involved in these cases, then Mr Larry Breuer (sic), then anyone else involved... We have a list of names Judges included.
A week later, he sent a second letter proposing a peace treaty between ABT and the federal government. "[T]rust me its not fun having to search the DA's, U.S. Attorneys, Judges, and so on and so forth vehicles everyday for bombs," he wrote.
Brister didn't attempt to conceal his identity in these missives, nor did he hide where he'd sent the letter from: the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's Telford Unit, where he was serving a prison term.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
When Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife were gunned down in their home two days after Brister sent the second letter, investigators knew just where to find him.
Brister denied ABT involvement in the Kaufman County slayings, a claim that investigators later judged to be true. They say the murders were the result of a small-town political feud, not a coordinated gang attack.
Brister pleaded guilty in August to one count of making threatening communications. On Friday, he was sentenced to 55 months in federal prison. He is currently residing at the Federal Correctional Institute in Seagoville.
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.