10 years for courthouse bomb threat

Christina O'Haver, The Union Democrat /

A Tuolumne man convicted of placing a fake bomb outside the Tuolumne County Courthouse a year ago was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years in state prison.

Terry Paul Keever, 56, was scheduled to be sentenced in Superior Court on Friday, but the hearing was continued to give him and his attorney more time to look over the probation report.

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

However, Judge Eleanor Provost increased the sentence because of Keever's prior convictions, poor performance on probation and parole, and attempts to implicate another person in the crime and mislead law enforcement.

Keever, who was found guilty by a jury on Nov. 30, has shown "a consistent pattern of getting in trouble" since at least 1979, Provost said.

On June 16, he was arrested by the Sonora Police Department and booked into county jail in connection with the fake bomb.

Police were advised of the possible bomb outside the north door of the Yaney Avenue building about 9 a.m. on Nov. 28, 2011.

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.

The courthouse was evacuated and traffic was diverted 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 police.

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

To appeal the sentence, Keever must file a notice within 60 days, Provost said.

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