A Westminster man who called in a bomb threat to the District Court building in July entered a plea agreement Thursday and will be sentenced at a later date.
Michael Paul Justice Sr., 37, of the 700 block of Johahn Drive, pleaded not guilty but agreed not to challenge the state's version of the facts to one count of false statement of a destructive device. He will be sentenced in March.
Investigators from the Maryland State Police Westminster Barrack responded to the District Court of Maryland for Carroll County at approximately 9:30 a.m. July 21 and interviewed a clerk who received a call from a male suspect who said there was a bomb in the building, according to the statement of facts read into the record by Deputy State's Attorney Edward Coyne.
The District Court and Circuit Court buildings were evacuated and closed for more than three hours while K-9 units from around the county responded to the scene to sweep the buildings, according to Coyne. No explosives were found.
The phone number associated with the call belonged to the Giant store in Westminster, according to Coyne, and surveillance footage showed a male suspect, later identified as Justice, enter the store, and a female employee at the customer service desk dial the phone and hand it to him.
The employee, a Hampstead woman, was originally charged in connection with the threat, but all charges against her have since been dropped, according to Coyne.
Justice was identified as the suspect from the surveillance footage and interviewed at the Westminster barracks, according to Coyne. He told police he had a landlord-tenant case in court that day and called in the bomb threat from Giant on his way to the courthouse.
Coyne said the state will not be seeking restitution from Justice for the cost of police response to the threat but instead sought a lengthy prison sentence as a part of the plea agreement. Judge Michael M. Galloway agreed to issue a five-year sentence at disposition in March.
Reach staff writer Heather Cobun at 410-857-7898 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.