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Man jailed for phony courthouse bomb

A Tuolumne man accused of planting a fake bomb outside the Tuolumne County Courthouse a year ago was found guilty in a jury trial Friday, according to District Attorney Mike Knowles.

Terry Paul Keever, 56, was arrested by the Sonora Police Department and booked into county jail on June 16 in connection with the fake bomb, which was found at the Yaney Avenue building on Nov. 28, 2011. 


Police were advised of a possible bomb outside the north door of the courthouse about 9 a.m.

The device was found inside a canvas bag and consisted of three red cylinder-shaped items taped together with wires running to a black box. 

Traffic was diverted, and the courthouse was evacuated for about two hours while the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad responded.

Authorities determined it was not a bomb, but police said it was made to look “very realistic.” 

The device was sent to a California Department of Justice crime lab for analysis, where DNA tests returned a match for Keever, according to Sonora Police Chief Mark Stinson.

Placing a fake bomb at a government building is a felony punishable by up to one year in county jail under California state law. 

However, Keever could serve up to 10 years of imprisonment because of prior convictions, Knowles said.

Keever was due in court the day of the false bomb threat after being charged with possession of stolen property.

He was arrested on Nov. 21, 2011, after Tuolumne County Sheriff’s deputies searched his home and vehicle on the 20700 block of Ponderosa Way and said they found several items connecting him to burglary at an East Sonora business earlier that day.

Deputies said they found more than $9,000 worth of items reported missing from the business in Keever’s truck.

Keever’s sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 28 at 8:15 a.m. in Department 4.

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