[Watch previous FOX 8 I-Team coverage in the player above.]
Richard J. Steinle was accused of mailing dozens of letters containing suspected feces over the course of nearly a year in 2021 and 2022 to legislators in Ohio, Kentucky and Washington, D.C., including Ohio’s 4th District U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, and all of Ohio’s Republican state senators.
The letters were intercepted before reaching their intended recipients. A United States Postal Service inspector later followed Steinle from his home to the post office and recorded him on video dropping off a letter “while wearing a glove,” filings show.
On Thursday, he pleaded guilty to a count of mailing “injurious articles” that are non-mailable in Ohio’s Northern District federal court in Cleveland
Defendants found guilty of that statute can face up to a year in prison and a fine. The penalties become much stronger if the defendant aimed to harm the recipient, or if a person is killed.
Steinle is due for sentencing on March 25, 2024. He remains free on a $20,000 unsecured bond.
What can’t be sent by mail?
Postal regulations bar “biological and regulated medical waste” like feces from being transported by mail.
The federal statute on mailing injurious articles makes it illegal to mail anything natural or artificial “which may kill or injure another,” property or other mail, but with exceptions for reasons like research or military use. Under the statute, other non-mailable items include:
- All kinds of poison or poisonous creatures
- Explosives — or machines designed to explode — and flammable materials
- Disease germs or scabs
- Knives and ballistic knives with ejecting blades