A Clarksville man who claimed he planted a bomb inside a Howard County police station was sentenced to three years' probation and ordered by a judge to continue mental health treatment last week, according to State's Attorney spokesman Wayne Kirwan.
Benjamin J. Parsons, 34, of the 6300 block of Eastern Star Way, was sentenced Feb. 12 in Howard County Circuit Court on one charge of threat of arson, which he pleaded guilty to in December.
According to police, Parsons walked into the county's Southern District Police Station in the 11000 block of Scaggsville Road at 4:05 p.m. May 25 and handed the duty officer a note that claimed he had placed explosives in the building. The note also claimed he formed an Al Qaeda cell in Maryland and threatened the life of President Barack Obama, according to police.
Parsons was arrested, and the station and a nearby shopping center, where Parsons parked his car, were evacuated, according to police.
After three hours of searching, police did not find any explosives. Parsons later admitted that he did not plant any explosives.
According to court documents, Parsons told police he orchestrated the threat because "he believed his only options in life were to go to prison or a homeless shelter," and "he decided prison was a better option."
At his sentencing hearing, Judge Richard Bernhard imposed a five-year prison sentence and suspended all but the two days Parsons has already served.
He was also sentenced to three years' probation and must continue with his mental health treatment, which he began almost immediately after the incident in May.