Bend man pleads guilty to 2019 hoax bomb threat at courthouse

EUGENE, Ore.— A Bend man pleaded guilty Friday for placing a hoax bomb at the Deschutes County Courthouse last July, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Jonathan Tyler Allen, 24, pleaded guilty to conspiring to use a telephone to make a threat to destroy a building with an explosive.

According to court documents, on or about July 28 to July 29, 2019, Allen and co-conspirator Kellie Cameron, 31, also of Bend, conspired with one another to shut down the Deschutes County Courthouse in Bend by planting a fake bomb and calling in a bomb threat, U.S. Attorney Billy Williams said.

Around the same time, Cameron constructed a fake bomb using batteries, wiring, a circuit board, and a fuel filter, among other materials.

On July 29, Allen and Cameron drove to the courthouse and placed the hoax device on a ramp near the building, Williams said.

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.”

Less than an hour later, with Allen again present, Cameron called 911 a second time to repeat his threat. Allen later threw one of the phones used into a canal to avoid being caught.

The incident closed downtown streets near the courthouse for hours and required the Oregon State Police bomb squad to be called in from Eugene.

The two men were arrested just a few days later last year after being contacted by police during a traffic stop.

Search warrants were executed on the men and the Dodge van they were driving, according to Bend Police. Evidence was obtained and both suspects were arrested and jailed.

On August 7, 2019, Allen and Cameron were charged with conspiring to make a threat regarding explosive materials and conveying false information and hoaxes.

Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel on Friday thanked law enforcement and Williams for their work on the investigation and prosecution.

“Jonathan Allen sought to shut down the justice system in Deschutes County, and he failed.  While me and the team in the District Attorney’s office evacuated our offices after the bomb threat was made, we never stopped working to ensure justice was done,” Hummel said in a statement. “It was heartening to see my team working their cases on cell phones, laptops in the parking lot, and offices they commandeered throughout the Deschutes County government campus.”

Allen faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

He will be sentenced on September 6, 2020, before U.S. District Court Judge Michael J. McShane.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office will recommend Allen be sentenced to 18 months in federal prison.

Cameron made his first appearance in federal court on August 21, 2019. He entered a not guilty plea and was detained pending trial. Judge McShane continued the detention order pending sentencing.

This case was investigated by the FBI, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office and the Bend Police Department and is being prosecuted by Nathan J. Lichvarcik, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon.

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