Newport News man convicted in bomb threat case

6/12/2013, 9:25 a.m.
Devon Tyrell Slaughter pleaded guilty on June 11 to two counts of "threats to bomb," a Class 5 felony. He ...

— Devon Tyrell Slaughter pleaded guilty on June 11 to two counts of "threats to bomb," a Class 5 felony. He was sentenced in the Newport News Circuit Court to 10-years on each count with all but eight months suspended. In addition, he was ordered to pay restitution to each of the public safety agencies that responded to the threat, including Newport News Sheriff's Office, Newport News Police Department, and the Newport News Fire Department.

Slaughter made the bomb threat on Feb. 20, temporarily shutting down all three Newport News courthouses. Newport News Sheriff's Office deputies arrested Slaughter on March 5 after an investigation. Investigators determined that Slaughter was trying to delay his sentencing hearing on a malicious wounding conviction that was scheduled on the morning of the bomb threat.

Investigators were able to trace the phone call to a payphone outside a convenience store located in the 4700 block of Marshall Avenue. Slaughter also made additional calls from a pre-paid cell phone, and according to investigators, mistakenly thought those calls could not be traced. Technology used by the Enhanced 911, or E-911, can automatically associate a location with the origin of the cell phone.

"My position is to send a strong message to anyone who attempts to impede the justice system, whether through witness intimidation or by disrupting court proceedings," said Newport News Sheriff Gabe Morgan. "We will use all available recourses to bring them to justice. The public should have a high level of confidence in the justice system's ability to not only arrest, but also to ensure they have their day in court without disruption of those proceedings."

Slaughter's was the second bomb threat arrest made by the Newport News Sheriff's Office. In November of 2010, deputies arrested a man in connection with an Oct. 20, 2010 bomb threat. That arrest also led to a conviction.

According to the city, these investigations headed-up by the sheriff's office are all part of the agency's increase in law enforcement activity. This is a force multiplier for the residents of the city of Newport News. The local police department is the primary law enforcement agency for the city and the sheriff's office personnel supplementing those efforts.