A Gwinnett County teenager is back behind bars charged with sending threatening emails and letters to a myriad of people from his own attorney all the way up the President.
Markel Collins, who was in the county’s mental court program for threatening a fellow classmate at Meadowcreek High School, is now facing charges of making terrorist threats against District Attorney Danny Porter, Porter’s office manager, and Collin’s former attorney Pam Britt.
“It’s a little hard to wrap your head around when somebody comes and says they want to do harm to you or your family,” says Britt.
She tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish she was appointed as Collins’ attorney for his initial case and never had any problems. She had not had contact with the 19-year-old since his acceptance into the mental court program which closely monitors its participants as a way to keep non-violent offenders with mental illness out of jail.
Over the last week, though, she has received three emails and a letter threatening to kidnap her if she did not pay him $100,000 and have the charges against him dropped.
“You can’t not take a threat of violence seriously, especially when a person is out of custody,” says Britt.
Porter received a series of emails from Collins over the last month that increasingly became more threatening. When he refused to respond, he says Collins’ last email threatened to use a gun on him if he did not pay $1 million and have the charges dismissed.
“It’s not that I ever felt really tremendously threatened--although you never know what these folks are going to do; it’s just now, we’ve got him in a place where we can either help him or send him to prison,” he says.
The teen’s mother Alethea Collins, who adopted him at age 7, says he suffers from mental illness and went off his medications when he left home.
“He has a lot of mental issues and when he’s not on his medications he’s liable to say or do anything,” she says.
Collins say she was even visited by the Secret Service after learning her son sent threats to President Barack Obama.