HOUSTON, Texas — A Texas man has been sentenced to life in prison for shooting and killing a postal carrier and then setting her body on fire.

Yesterday, December 6, 2021, 45-year-old James Wayne Ham of Coldspring, Texas, pleaded guilty to murdering a U.S. Postal Service mail carrier, Eddie “Marie” Youngblood, while she was in the performance of her official duties.

On May 17, 2013, Ham obtained a rifle, extra ammunition, lighter fluid, and hid in the tree line near his home. After Youngblood delivered Ham's mail and was leaving the area, federal prosecutors say he admitted to shooting her approximately four times.

Ham then took Youngblood in her vehicle to a nearby water supply station where he doused the vehicle and victim with lighter fluid and set them on fire.

Youngblood's son was on the phone with her during the incident and alerted law enforcement. Authorities later found Ham hiding in a vacant residence near the scene of the murder.

Ham was taken into custody and ultimately confessed to the murder, took law enforcement to the scene of the murder, and showed them where he had hidden the gun and the location where he shot Youngblood.

After his guilty plea in federal court yesterday, U.S. District Judge Lynn N. Hughes sentenced Ham to life in federal prison.

“Any murder against our citizens is egregious and intolerable,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery. “Even worse is someone who attacks our workforce while they are simply doing their job. This plea and sentence shows our determination to stand firm with our partners to ensure no one escapes justice for such vicious crimes.”

“USPS letter carriers are in our neighborhoods every day, delivering mail to homes and businesses across this country,” said Acting Inspector in Charge Dana Carter of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS). “The investigation and arrest of Ham for his shocking and heinous crimes against a USPS letter carrier was the highest priority for the USPIS. Our thoughts continue to be with the victim’s family and all affected by this senseless crime.”