Crime & Courts

Murdaugh Trial: Arrest Made In Courthouse Bomb Threat

Inmate charged …

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Local and state authorities have identified the individual they say is responsible for calling in a bomb threat to the Colleton County courthouse in Walterboro, South Carolina two weeks ago.

The bomb threat briefly delayed the double homicide trial of disbarred Palmetto State attorney Alex Murdaugh – a case which has drawn international attention (and which is the focus of a newly launched Netflix documentary).

As this news outlet reported at the time, presiding judge Clifton Newman ordered the evacuation of the building at 12:23 p.m. EST on February 8, 2023 during the testimony of special agent Brian Hudak of the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED). Hudak – a computer crimes technician – had just been called to the stand to testify on behalf of the state when Newman called for the building to be cleared.

“Ladies and gentlemen we have to evacuate the building at this time,” Newman announced calmly. “So we will be in recess until we discover what’s going on.”

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The bomb threat – which was determined to have been unfounded – delayed proceedings until shortly after 3:00 p.m. EST.

According to a news release from the Colleton County sheriff’s office, an “unidentified male caller” telephoned the courthouse’s main switchboard at some point after noon and claimed there was a “bomb in the judge’s chamber.”

As the courthouse was being cleared, SLED agents and Colleton sheriff’s detectives “began working to identify the caller” – and were able to trace the “target phone” to the Ridgeland Correctional Institute in Jasper County. There, officers of the S.C. Department of Corrections (SCDC) located a cellular device in the possession of an inmate named Joey Dean Coleman.

“An initial forensic examination of the phone confirmed the components were a match to the device used to call in the bomb threat to the courthouse,” the Colleton County release confirmed.

(Click to View)

Joey Dean Coleman (SCDC)

Was there any connection between Coleman and the Palmetto State’s ‘Trial of the Century?’

“At this time, no direct connection has been identified between Joey Coleman and Alex Murdaugh or the Murdaugh trial,” the Colleton County statement noted.

Colleton sheriff’s detectives – who are leading the investigation – have obtained a felony arrest warrant for Coleman for the phone call threat.

Coleman, 32, was moved to Ridgeland on January 24, 2023 – the day after the trial began. He was transferred on February 8, 2023 – the day of the bomb threat – to a secure facility at the Broad River Correctional Facility just north of Columbia, S.C.

At the time of the threat, he was approximately four years into a lengthy sentence on kidnapping, assault, armed robbery and weapons charges. Coleman was not eligible for parole, and had a projected release date of October 7, 2045.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Will Folks on phone
Will Folks (Brett Flashnick)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.

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4 comments

Buzz Williams February 23, 2023 at 7:45 am

I appreciate the fine job you are doing , bringing fresh transparent honesty into journalism.

Reply
Johnny February 23, 2023 at 11:59 am

Jam the jails already!

Reply
Anonymous February 23, 2023 at 10:38 pm

I beieve Alex Murdaugh is being villianized. If you actually did your job and research you will know there is a good chance Conner was driving the boat when it actually hit the bridge. There is several videos supporting this theory with Conner’s statement the night of Mallory’s death.Now everyone wants to sue him. Sounds like he’s guilty before proven. Just because you have a opiate addicton, which is killing million of people a year now, does not make you a murder, but oxycontin is expensive and most addicts do shady things to get those drugs.
I hope and pray he is found innocent and they actually can start doing some really police work.

Reply
J. Carol February 23, 2023 at 11:27 pm

Laughable..Anonymous! Put a timeline together of all crimes he committed! There are witnesses who put Paul at driver’s seat. Get a life.

Reply

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