LOUISVILLE, Ky.—A Kentucky inmate is facing federal charges, accused of writing letters threatening the life of President Barack Obama, the first lady and their two daughters.

A grand jury in Louisville on Wednesday charged Kentucky State Penitentiary Anthony D. Holliman with threatening the president and a second count for threatening the president's family.

The indictment says the inmate serving decades in prison for rape and other convictions wrote a letter addressed to Obama in May saying he would "blowe your brains out with a pistel." Holliman used racial epithets in the letter.

The U.S. attorney's office says Holliman wrote a second letter to first lady Michelle Obama, threatening her and the Obamas' two daughters.

Holliman faces up to five years in prison if he is convicted on the two charges.