A Bend man was sentenced to federal prison Tuesday for his role in a bomb threat hoax at the Deschutes County Courthouse last year.
Kellie Kent Cameron, 32, was sentenced to 21 months and three years’ supervised release for crafting the hoax bomb and phoning in the threat to blow up the building, said US Attorney Billy J. Williams.
As part of his sentence, Cameron was also ordered to pay $43,620.18 in restitution to the Deschutes County Circuit Court, Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office, First Interstate Bank in Bend, and Bend Fire & Rescue.
“Constructing a hoax bomb and threatening to blow up a courthouse to interfere with a judicial proceeding, is beyond reprehensible” Williams said in a statement. “Courthouses are the very symbol of justice, safety and fairness in a functioning society, and this unconscionable act not only caused fear, panic and disruption in this community, it jeopardized their sense of safety.”
In September, 24-year-old Jonathan Tyler Allen was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for his role in the hoax.
“Hoax devices cause real-world damage. They cost money for first responders and businesses, and they create fear for those who live and work in the area,” said Renn Cannon, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon. “The device that Cameron built – and the 911 calls he made – did both. If you become aware of a potential threat, we encourage you to contact the FBI or local law enforcement right away,”
According to court documents, on or about July 28 to July 29, 2019, Cameron and Allen conspired with one another to shut down the courthouse by planting a fake bomb and calling in a bomb threat.
Around the same time, Cameron constructed a realistic-looking fake bomb using batteries, wiring, a circuit board, and a fuel filter, among other materials, Williams said.
On July 29, 2019, the pair drove to the courthouse and placed the hoax device on a ramp near the building.
Around 7:18 a.m. the same day, Cameron, who was with Allen, used a cell phone to call 911.
He told the operator, “I just want to let you know that there are two bombs, one’s in the courthouse and good luck finding the other one,” Williams said.
Less than an hour later, Cameron called 911 and repeated his threat using more urgent and profanity-laden language.
The threat shut down and forced the evacuation of the Deschutes County Courthouse, the Deschutes County District Attorney’s office, a bank, and other nearby businesses while first responders rushed to the scene and investigated the threat.
When the device was discovered, a bomb squad, used disabling techniques to prevent an explosion. The device was later dismantled and found to be a hoax.
Allen later threw one of the phones used into a canal to avoid being caught, Williams said.
On August 7, 2019, Cameron and Allen were charged with conspiring to make a threat to damage property and conveying false information and hoaxes.
Cameron pleaded guilty in federal court on August 21 to using a telephone to make a threat to damage a building by means of an explosive.