Bowers gets prison sentence for Carmike bomb threat

lgierer@ledger-enquirer.comFebruary 25, 2014 

Keith Bowers, 59, of Jessieville, Ark, who in 2012 telephoned a bomb threat to Carmike Cinemas’ Columbus headquarters, was sentenced Tuesday morning to 12 months and one day in prison by Judge Clay Land.

That will be followed by two years of supervised release.

The sentencing was given in U.S. District Court in Columbus where in December Bowers pleaded guilty to one count of transmitting threats in interstate commerce.

Neither Bowers nor his attorney Barry DeBrow had any comment in court Tuesday.

Both declined to make a comment after the hearing.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Melvin Hyde told Land that Carmike did not seek any financial restitution.

During Bowers’ court appearance in December, Hyde said Bowers tried to feign a Hispanic accent to make Carmike think he was one of his competitors in the business of cleaning theater.

At Bowers’ trial, Hyde told the court that Bowers believed his rivals in janitorial services were hiring undocumented workers to cut their prices, and hoped his scheme would result in Carmike canceling contracts with his competitors.

Before his plea, Bowers told Land that is being treated for depression, suicidal tendencies and panic attacks, and likely would not have committed the crime had he earlier sought treatment, as his family urged him to do.

“If I had gone in and said something, I probably wouldn’t be sitting here today,” he told Land in December.

During that trial,, Hyde said Bowers was soliciting business in Longview, Texas, on Aug. 16, 2012, when he used a Bank of America credit card to buy a wireless Tracfone at a Kmart. Then he twice used the device to call Carmike in Columbus, threatening to detonate a bomb at a showing of the action film “The Expendables 2.”

Despite his Arkansas dialect, Bowers tried to sound Hispanic as he began his call with “Senor, this is Jose,” Hyde said.

The movie title apparently fit the message Bowers wished to convey: A Columbus police lieutenant earlier said Bowers told Carmike, “You don’t pay us enough. You cut back our hours. We’re not expendable. We’ll show you we’re not expendable.”

The threat prompted authorities to search some theaters for explosives.

Federal investigators traced the Tracfone number to the Kmart and to the credit card used to purchase it. The card was in Bowers’ name. He was arrested on Sept. 17.

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