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Man Pleads Guilty To Harassing Ex-Wife, Mailing Her A Dead Rat And A Black Rose

Romney Ellis, 55, threatened his estranged wife in a series of troubling letters, which prosecutors called a systematic “campaign of harassment.”

By Dorian Geiger

An Indianapolis man has pleaded guilty to sending his ex-wife a dead rat, and now could face half a decade behind bars in a federal prison, prosecutors announced Friday. 

Romney Ellis, 55, who also threatened to set his wife on fire and sent her sexually graphic images of himself, pleaded guilty in federal court last week, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office Middle District of Florida. He pleaded guilty to charges of making threats and mailing a dead animal using the U.S. mail system.

Federal prosecutors described Ellis’ prolonged correspondence with his estranged wife, who lives in Florida, as a “campaign of harassment,” which spanned nearly half a decade. In one instance, the woman opened a package to find the body of a dead rat and a black rose.

“He threatened to decapitate and set the victim on fire, and he routinely made racially and sexually charged statements in the text messages, including sending sexually explicit images of himself,” prosecutors said in a statement. 

Ellis also sent his former spouse text messages stating he had traveled from Indiana to Florida to see her. He also was accused of using the mail to harass his ex-wife’s friends and family.

The 55-year-old was arrested in February after authorities raided his home while executing a search warrant. Handwritten notes containing the names and addresses of his ex-wife, her friends, and family were seized from the property. 

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigated the case.

Ellis faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. His sentencing is scheduled for July 30, 2020. 

The U.S. Attorney’s Office Middle District of Florida wasn’t immediately available for comment on Monday.

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