U.S. Attorney's Office
Southern District of Illinois
(618) 628-3700
October 23, 2014

Chicago Man Indicted for Making Bomb and Violence Threats Against Southern Illinois University

The United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today that Derrick Dawon Burns, 21, of Chicago, Illinois, was indicted by a federal grand jury on October 22, 2014, on four federal charges stemming from a series of bomb and violence threats directed toward Southern Illinois University in Carbondale (SIUC) students, faculty, and staff on October 10, 2012, October 15, 2012, December 6, 2012, and October 1, 2013. The four federal charges of Willfully Making a Bomb Threat each carry maximum penalties of ten years in federal prison, three years’ supervised release, a $250,000 fine and a $100 special assessment.

Culminating a two year investigation, authorities arrested Burns in Chicago on September 29, 2014. The United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois in Benton ordered Burns held without bond pending his trial date (which date will be set by the Court in the near future).

An indictment is a formal charge against a defendant. Under the law, a defendant is presumed to be innocent of a charge until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to the satisfaction of a jury.

The return of an indictment by the grand jury is the product of an investigation on the part of the SIUC Department of Public Safety, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the United States Postal Inspection Service. Assistance was provided by the Carbondale Police Department, the Illinois Secretary of State Bomb Squad, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, and the Illinois State Police. The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney John C. Constance and Assistant U.S. Attorney Liam Coonan.

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