ASU bomb threat suspect acquitted because of mental defect

Carlan Walker (Source: Craighead County Sheriff's Office)
Carlan Walker (Source: Craighead County Sheriff's Office)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT& AP) – The 44-year-old Jonesboro man accused of creating a bomb scare atArkansas State University in Jonesboro was acquitted Monday in court by mentaldefect.

According to the Craighead County Prosecutor's Officea judge acquitted Carlan Neugene Walker because of a mental defect.

Walker was charged with a felony count of communicatinga false alarm, and a felony count of breaking or entering, a felony count ofcriminal intent theft of property and a misdemeanor count of criminaltrespassing.

On September 18, the university evacuated a dormitory,the International Student Center and surrounding parking lots after Walkerclaimed there were bombs inside University Hall and in a vehicle nearby.

Police and fire investigators conducted a sweep of thebuilding with a bomb-detecting dog from Crittenden County, luckily findingnothing suspicious.

According to a probable cause affidavit, universitypolice went to the parking lot behind University Hall around 3 p.m. afterWalker was found inside someone's truck.

The affidavit states that the truck's driver initiallydetained Walker, who said that "he was a sergeant and there were 43 bombsin his truck." Walker reportedly told the owner that "he was there todiffuse the bombs and 'that there were bombs in that building' and gestured toUniversity Hall."

The affidavit also states that while inspecting thevictim's truck, officers noticed the area above the gauges on the dashboard hadbeen torn out in what appeared to be an attempt to steal the vehicle, whilealso finding "numerous cigarette butts and other trash strewn about thetruck."

While being transported to the Craighead CountyDetention Center, Walker reportedly told police that there were bombs in theaforementioned truck.

Police and court records show officers arrested44-year-old Carlan Neugene Walker of Jonesboro on a drunk, insane or disorderlycharge on Sunday September 16, days before he allegedly made a bomb threat.

Randy Martin, the ASU police chief, says the incidentcame after several other colleges investigated bomb threats on their campuses –the latest at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.

Those instances, however, are unrelated to the onethat occurred at ASU.

"We feel like we're always prepared," ChiefMartin said, "but in light of those situations that have occurred over thepast week or two, we've been using our roll call and shift briefings asopportunities to review our policies and procedures on bomb threats."

Martin says the preparation paid off after a two-hoursearch turned up no explosives.

He says the serious charges that Walker now facesshould send a strong message to anyone thinking of making similar threats.

News Director's Note:  Wetypically do not report threats unless there is an actual threat, an arrest ismade, or it is a habitual problem that disrupts the educational process. Often times reporting school threats leads to copycats and creates abigger classroom distraction.  We hope you understand.  

Copyright 2012 KAIT. Allrights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.