Man pleads guilty to bomb threats
TOWANDA - A Rome man pleaded guilty Thursday to phoning in two bomb threats to the Bradford County Courthouse on Dec. 6.
Tommy Gene Turner, 49, pleaded guilty Thursday to the third-degree felony of terroristic threats for making the bomb threats, Bradford County Assistant District Attorney Al Ondrey said.
Under a plea agreement between the Commonwealth and Turner, the other charge that had been lodged against him, threat to use weapons of mass destruction, will be dismissed at his sentencing, Ondrey said.
Turner faces a maximum sentence of seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine, Ondrey said. He will be sentenced on March 28.
Turner entered his guilty plea to the terroristic threats charge at a plea hearing on Thursday in Bradford County Court.
Due to the threats, the courthouse was evacuated and the courthouse and its grounds were searched. No bomb was found.
Turner telephoned the Bradford County commissioners' office, located on the main floor of courthouse, at 1:55 p.m. on Dec. 6 and said: "There are three bombs in the building," according to the state police at Towanda.
Turner then called the commissioners' office four to five minutes later and made the same threat, authorities said.
On the day that Turner made the bomb threats, he was scheduled to be sentenced on a DUI charge.
Turner later admitted to police that he made the bomb threats in order to postpone his sentencing, so that he could spend the holidays with his family, and not in jail, according to the state police at Towanda.
The courthouse re-opened on Dec. 7.
The terroristic threats charge was a third-degree felony due to the fact that the courthouse was evacuated, Ondrey said. In other circumstances, the terroristic threats charge would have been a first-degree misdemeanor, he said.
James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or email: firstname.lastname@example.org