Columbus Man Sentenced to Six Months in Prison for E-Mailing Bomb Threat Aimed at the Ohio State University
|U.S. Attorney’s Office October 06, 2011|
COLUMBUS—Jonathan Michael Birkemeyer, 24, of Columbus, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to six months’ imprisonment for sending an e-mail threat to the FBI warning of bombs placed on the campus of The Ohio State University on November 16, 2010.
Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Edward J. Hanko, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); The Ohio State University Safety Director Vernon Baisden; The Ohio State University Police Chief Paul Denton; Columbus Police Chief Walter Distelzweig; and Columbus Fire Chief Ned Pettus Jr. announced the sentence handed down today by U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus, Jr.
Birkemeyer, a student at the university, pleaded guilty on June 20, 2011 to one count of maliciously conveying false information concerning an attempt to destroy property by means of explosives. According to a statement read during his hearing, Birkemeyer sent an e-mail to the FBI Headquarters in Washington claiming that he had found a detailed map of nine bombs placed in four different buildings on the campus in Columbus. He claimed the bombs were placed in the door jambs and were set to be triggered when opened after 9 a.m. on November 16.
Birkemeyer’s e-mail claimed that the bombs were in the Thompson Library, McPherson Chemical Lab, Smith Laboratory, and Scott Laboratory and were made of chemicals and high explosive powder.
The FBI Headquarters notified the FBI Columbus office, which alerted the Ohio State University Police, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the Columbus Police Department, and the Columbus Fire Department Bomb Squad.
The threat prompted the school to evacuate the four buildings. The law enforcement and public safety agencies conducted a thorough search of the buildings and did not find any explosive devices. The buildings remained closed until 5 p.m.
Birkemeyer was also sentenced to serve three years of supervised release following his prison term, with special conditions including serving the first three months at a halfway house, followed by three months of locked-down home confinement. Birkemeyer’s sentence also included an order for a mental health assessment with continued treatment as recommended.
Stewart commended the prompt cooperative response by the federal, state, local, and university officials.