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Man pleads guilty to courthouse bomb threat

In what could become the priciest java ever, a Spokane man pleaded guilty Wednesday to threatening to bomb the federal courthouse and kill a judge over what he claimed was a dare with a bag of coffee as the payoff.

The dare is expected to land Scott J. Franklin, 42, in federal prison for three years.

“There was no meaning to it. I was never going to do it,” Franklin told visiting U.S. District Judge Ancer Haggerty, of Portland, who was brought in to hear the case. “I bet you I will never do it again. I can tell you that.”

The case began on June 11 when the clerk of the U.S. District Court received a two-page, handwritten letter from the Spokane County Jail. It was signed Scott J. Franklin, who was a jail inmate at the time.

“I am going to get released this time and I am going to use C-4 Exsplosives and bomb Your Federal downtown on Riverside courthouse,” the letter, complete with grammar and spelling errors, read, according to court records. “I am going to bomb your Courthouse so good that I hope I can kill you, Senior Justice (Justin Quackenbush) and all the other Federal Judges that are their.”

The letter prompted an investigation and federal agents conducted a jail visit with Franklin, who has 16 prior felony convictions for burglary, theft and drug possession.

Franklin, who was due to be released on July 18, acknowledged writing and sending the letter. He explained that a fellow inmate, whom he could not identify, challenged him to write the letter.

“It basically was a joke with an inmate over a bag of coffee,” Franklin told Judge Haggerty in court. “I never was intentionally going to bomb any courthouse. It was all over a bag of coffee.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney C. Andrew Colasurdo, who also was brought in from Seattle to prosecute the case, said he expects Franklin to receive about three years in prison at his sentencing on Nov. 5.

The court record does not reflect whether Franklin ever got to enjoy the coffee in question.

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