Threats to IRS agents earns two-year prison term

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - A Knoxville man who threatened to kill Internal Revenue Service employees in April will spend two years in prison and undergo mental health treatment, a federal judge has ruled.

The lawyer for Michael Glenn Hicks, 30, told U.S. District Judge Leon Jordan during a sentencing hearing that his client was frustrated when he made the threats but did not intend to go through with them.

''I can understand why he did it,'' defense attorney Kim Tollison said after describing the IRS as a ''frustrating organization'' to deal with that has confusing regulations.

Hicks pleaded guilty in May to making threats to injure another person. The charge stemmed from incidents April 10 in which he called an IRS employee at a customer service office in Denver and, during a discussion about his 1999 federal income tax return, repeatedly said he would ''shoot an IRS employee in the head,'' court documents state.

Less than four hours later, Hicks called an IRS office in Buffalo, N.Y., and repeated his threats in a profanity-laced tirade that erupted when he again became unhappy about his tax return, the papers state.

''I understand what I did was wrong,'' Hicks told Jordan before being sentenced.

Tollison asked for a lower prison sentence, arguing Hicks has an anger-management problem and said things even Tollison has wanted to say to IRS employees before.

Tollison agreed with a recommendation that Hicks receive mental health treatment while incarcerated. Jordan imposed three years of supervised release as part of the sentence.

As part of Hicks' plea agreement with Assistant U.S. Attorney Nancy Harr, one other felony and two misdemeanor charges were dropped.

Hicks pleaded guilty last summer in Knox County General Sessions Court to misdemeanor false report and harassment charges.

According to court records, those offenses stemmed from a May 19, 1999, telephone call to the Tennessee Technological Center in which Hicks made bomb threats amid profane and racial comments. In that case, Hicks was sentenced to supervised probation and ordered to have no contact with the school or any Pellissippi State campus.

(Contact Laura Ayo of The Knoxville News-Sentinel in Tennessee at


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment