Jerseyville Woman Charged with Threatening to Destroy Calhoun County High School
The United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today that Michelle Lynn Smith, 36, of Jerseyville, Illinois, was charged by way of a criminal complaint for conveying a false threat.
On April 28, 2014, authorities responded to a potential bomb threat at the Calhoun County High School in Hardin. The response was prompted by the discovery of a computer-generated note in the ladies’ washroom. The note read as follows:
This school is going down today. KABOOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Im tired of all the people here. Everyone is going down, the school will b n flames. It is so stupid here. I cant take it ne more. The teachers suck and don’t do ne thing to help u. All that matters is what ur name is. If I had certain names I would not have the truble I do. Don’t matter, this place sucks and will not be here for long. So long and GOOD-BYE!!!!!!!!!
Authorities immediately evacuated the school and notified the parents of the students. The Secretary of State Police Bomb Squad and Capitol Police K-9s conducted a search of the building, but no explosives were located. Following these events, law enforcement found evidence and conducted interviews which lead to the criminal charges against Smith, a teacher at the high school.
The charge of conveying a false threat carries maximum penalties of five years of imprisonment, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.
“Actions such as these cause not only massive wastes of law enforcement resources but strike fear into the hearts of parents and students alike. Because children should feel safe in their schools, we take these charges very seriously.” noted United States Attorney Wigginton.
Smith is being held in federal custody, without bond, pending a detention hearing set on Monday, May 5, 2014, at 11:00 a.m. in United States District Court in East St. Louis.
A criminal complaint is a formal charge against a defendant. Under the law, a defendant is presumed to be innocent of a charge and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case was investigated by the Illinois State Police, with the assistance of the Calhoun County State’s Attorney, Calhoun County Sheriff’s Department, Jersey County Sheriff’s Department, the Jerseyville Police Department, the Illinois Secretary of State Police Bomb Squad and Capitol Police K-9s, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Liam Coonan and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Hallock.