Harrison Co. sheriff: Man arrested for calling in bomb threat to avoid verdict at his trial

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GULFPORT, Mississippi — A Gulfport man has been charged with calling in a bomb threat at the Harrison County Courthouse in April just before a verdict was to be handed down in a gun possession case.

The Sun Herald reports (http://bit.ly/1QsOFBY ) that Willie Eddie Smith Jr., 33, was arrested Wednesday on a felony charge of false reporting of a bomb. Smith was being held in the local jail pending an initial court appearance. It is not clear if he has an attorney.

Harrison County Sheriff Melvin Brisolara said Smith had tried to bolt from a courtroom April 15, jumping over chairs, when an alarm sounded, but a court security officer subdued him with a stun gun.

"He made the call as a distraction to get out of hearing his jury verdict," Brisolara said.

The jury found him guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm. The verdict was being read when the alarm sounded.

Brisolara said Smith had used his cellphone to make a call reporting several bombs had been placed around the courthouse before he went into court. He had been free on bond pending the trial's outcome.

On April 20, Circuit Judge Chris Schmidt sentenced him as a habitual offender, ordering him to serve 10 years in prison on the possession charge.

Prosecutors said it was Smith's fourth felony conviction, including two drug convictions.


Information from: The Sun Herald, http://www.sunherald.com

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