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OSU student sentenced to prison in bomb threat case

Austin Owens / Lantern photographer

The former student who pleaded guilty to last year’s bomb threat on Ohio State’s campus was sentenced to six months in prison Thursday.

Jonathon Michael Birkemeyer, a 24-year-old former OSU student and former Marine, sent an email to the FBI headquarters on Nov. 16, 2010, claiming he had found a map of nine bombs placed in four different buildings on the OSU campus, according to court documents.

The threat resulted in more than 1,500 students being evacuated from the mentioned buildings and closed pedestrian traffic on 18th Avenue, while the FBI, OSU police and the Columbus Fire Department bomb squad searched for the bombs. The search continued until 5 p.m., at which time the buildings were reopened.

Birkemeyer, who studied criminology while attending OSU, withdrew from the university during the ongoing investigation in Winter Quarter of 2011. He pleaded guilty on June 20 to “one count of maliciously conveying false information concerning an attempt to destroy property by means of explosives,” according to the press release.

Kenneth Smith, an FBI special agent, said in June that Birkemeyer had an exam scheduled in McPherson Laboratory the morning of the threat. During the investigation, FBI access to Birkemeyer’s computer showed that he had downloaded the review sheet for the exam the day before.

The investigation concluded that Birkemeyer’s motive for the crime was that he had an exam in one of the threatened buildings and was not prepared to take it.

The professor who taught the class (not named in the report) told the FBI that Birkemeyer had told the professor “he was having a tough time making the transition from the military to being a full-time college student.”

In addition to his six months in prison, Birkemeyer was sentenced to a 3-year supervised-release term following his imprisonment. Special conditions on that sentence include that Birkemeyer spend his first three months after his prison term in a halfway house, followed by three months of locked-down home confinement, according to a press release.

Attempts to reach Birkemeyer’s lawyer, Keith Schneider were unsuccessful.

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