ASU bomb threat suspect acquitted because of mental defect - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

ASU bomb threat suspect acquitted because of mental defect

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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 at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro was acquitted Monday in court by mental defect.

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

Walker was charged with a felony count of communicating a false alarm, and a felony count of breaking or entering, a felony count of criminal intent theft of property and a misdemeanor count of criminal trespassing.

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

Police and fire investigators conducted a sweep of the building with a bomb-detecting dog from Crittenden County, luckily finding nothing suspicious.

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

The affidavit states that the truck's driver initially detained Walker, who said that "he was a sergeant and there were 43 bombs in his truck." Walker reportedly told the owner that "he was there to diffuse the bombs and ‘that there were bombs in that building' and gestured to University Hall."

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

While being transported to the Craighead County Detention Center, Walker reportedly told police that there were bombs in the aforementioned truck.

Police and court records show officers arrested 44-year-old Carlan Neugene Walker of Jonesboro on a drunk, insane or disorderly charge on Sunday September 16, days before he allegedly made a bomb threat.

Randy Martin, the ASU police chief, says the incident came 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 one that occurred at ASU.

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

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

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

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

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

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