Death threats aimed at North Carolina senators, Marines land man behind bars

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Tuesday, May 30, 2023
Expat American threatened to kill NC senators, Marines: FBI
The man reportedly threatened to show up in Raleigh and "put a bullet through each of [their] heads."

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A man is behind bars accused of threatening Sen. Thom Tillis, former Sen. Richard Burr and Marines working at the U.S. Embassy in Thailand.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Eric Charles Welton on May 25 when he flew into Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Welton, 51, had been living in Thailand

The U.S. Department of Justice said Welton began threatening Tillis and Burr through phone calls and voicemails in September 2021. The threats came after he said he received a large number of unsolicited political emails.

At one point, Welton reportedly spoke with one of the senators' staff and threatened to show up and "put a bullet through each of (their) heads." Welton also reportedly threatened to find the person who sent him the unsolicited emails and cut their hands off.

"You guys can contact me, but I can't contact you? Maybe I just gotta (sic) go down there to 310 New Bern Avenue and just kill everybody I see," Welton allegedly said during a call to Tillis' office on Sept. 21, 2021.

In an interview with the FBI, his father, Richard Welton, said his son was a "socialist" and was angry that he had received 600 political emails, according to court documents.

Welton, according to prosecutors, lived in Thailand and made threatening calls to not only the Senators, but staff, including Marines working at the embassy in Thailand.

He became "angry" once his wife, who was a citizen of Thailand, was denied an application for a U.S. Visa, court documents say.

"Now I'm going to kill a bunch of Marines and that's about all where it is, because you (expletive) are so (expletive) useless and worthless and that's all you can tell me," he allegedly said in a voicemail.

Welton currently faces one count of threatening a federal official, but investigators suggested more charges could be filed in the future. If convicted, that one charge could land Welton behind bars for up to 10 years.