A Clarksville man apparently driven by desperation pleaded guilty Tuesday to a bomb threat at a Howard County police station earlier this year that turned out to be a false alarm.
Benjamin J. Parsons, 34, of the 6300 block of Eastern Star Way, walked into the county's Southern District Police Station, in the 11000 block of Scaggsville Road in North Laurel, at 4:05 p.m. May 25 and handed an officer a note that suggested he had placed explosives inside the station's ventilation system, according to court documents.
The note also claimed he created an Al Qaeda cell in Maryland and threatened the life of the President, the documents state.
The station and a nearby shopping center where Parsons parked his car were evacuated, police said. No explosives or incendiary devices were found, police said, and Parsons admitted later that there were no 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."
Documents also state he told police he had attempted suicide before and has suicidal thoughts. The documents state he told police he suffers from paranoia and "has been accused of not being right in the head."
He told police he tried to seek professional help at Sheppard Pratt, but did not follow up with out-patient treatment, according to the court documents.
On Tuesday, he pleaded guilty in Howard County Circuit Court to one charge of threat of arson; he will be sentenced on Feb. 12.