Indiana man guilty of threatening, sending dead rat to ex-wife in Florida

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An Indiana man faces up to five years in federal prison for threatening his ex-wife over several years and mailing a dead rat to her Florida home.

Romney Christopher Ellis, 55, of Indianapolis, pleaded guilty Thursday in Tampa federal court to making interstate threats and mailing injurious articles, according to court records.

According to a criminal complaint, Ellis had engaged in a four-year-long campaign of harassment against his ex-wife, who lives in Tampa, through text messages, photographs, videos and mailings.

He threatened to decapitate and set her on fire, investigators said. He also routinely made racially and sexually charged statements in the text messages, including sending sexually explicit images of himself.

Ellis sent text messages stating he had traveled from Indiana to Florida to see his ex-wife. On one occasion, Ellis mailed a package to the victim’s home containing a dead rat and black rose.

Postal inspectors executed a search warrant at Ellis’ Indianapolis home in February. Prosecutors said they recovered a handwritten note containing the names and addresses of his ex-wife, as well as her family and friends.

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