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Johnson County man accused of calling in courthouse bomb threats

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Keith Laughlin

UPDATE:

On July 13, 2017, Keith Laughlin was sentenced to 730 days in prison with 73 days of jail credit and 584 days suspended, meaning he still has 83 days left to serve.

ORIGINAL STORY:

JOHNSON COUNTY (Jan. 19, 2015) – Investigators in Johnson County arrested a man accused of calling in bomb threats to the Johnson County Courthouse over the weekend.

On Saturday, someone called 911 around 4:45 p.m. and said a bomb would go off in the courthouse in 10 minutes. Police closed nearby roads and evacuated the courthouse and surrounding area. A search of the building turned up nothing suspicious, according to a report from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office.

About 30 minutes later, police said the same person called again, asked if the courthouse was clear and then said the bomb would go off in ten minutes. At 5:23 p.m., a dispatcher received another call from the same phone number in which the caller hung up. A fourth call came in at 5:44 p.m.

Investigators traced the number to Keith Laughlin, 61, Franklin.

When questioned by detectives, Laughlin asked if everything was all right. Police told him dispatchers had received calls from his phone number warning about a threat at the courthouse. Laughlin said he “never made a bomb threat,” which a detective noted “seemed odd because I never mentioned anything about a bomb.”

After listening to recordings of the calls, detectives said Laughlin was the main suspect because the voice on the tapes matched Laughlin’s, whose voice “is distinct because Laughlin is partially deaf…(and) has a mild speech impediment.”

Laughlin denied calling in the bomb threats. He was taken to the Johnson County Jail on a count of intimidation.