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Suspect named in courthouse bomb threat Bell currently being held in Williamson County

  • Robert E. Bell

    Robert E. Bell

Benton News
updated: 10/11/2017 9:01 AM

A Johnston City man has been charged in connection with the Sept. 27 bomb threat at the Franklin County Courthouse that forced the evacuation of the Benton Public Square.

Franklin County Sheriff Don Jones says Robert E. Bell, 59, currently is being held on unrelated charges in Williamson County, whose own courthouse was forced to close that same day.

The call, threatening an improvised explosive device on the second floor, was received in West Frankfort at about 8:45 a.m. that morning, Williamson County Sheriff's Department spokesman Brian Murrah previously told the newspaper.

The courthouse and the downtown Benton square were closed immediately. The West Frankfort Police Department then contacted the Williamson County Sheriff's Office, as there was concern the call could have been referring to the Marion facility.

Jones says the Franklin County arrest warrant against Bell charges two counts of felony disorderly conduct, one a class 3 and the other a class 4. Bond has been set at $200,000.

The Williamson County Sheriff's Office and the Johnston City Police Department have been assisting in the investigation.