A Woodstock man pleaded guilty Friday to calling in repeated bomb threats at two county courthouses because his home was on the auction block.
Jody John Wilson, 44, apologized for his actions before being sentenced to 10 years, with one year to serve in prison, the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office said. He pleaded guilty to four counts of transmitting a false public alarm.
“To be honest, I just didn’t know what to do at that time,” Wilson told Douglas County Superior Court Judge William “Bo” McClain.
On Jan. 2, Wilson called in bomb threats to both the Cobb and Cherokee county courthouses, forcing law enforcement in both counties to clear the buildings and check for explosives. On May 7, the same threat was made to both courthouses, and again both were searched. No explosives were located either day.
Wilson was the owner of the Starlight Café near the Cobb County courthouse and well known to courthouse workers and sheriff’s deputies, according to Cobb District Attorney Vic Reynolds. Investigators pinpointed the source of the call, which was a payphone at a nearby gas station, and identified Wilson in surveillance video.
Within hours of the threat on May 7, Wilson was arrested at his restaurant. He admitted that he was facing bankruptcy, but had not told his wife and young children the home was facing foreclosure.
As part of his sentence, Wilson was also ordered to pay restitution of $7,500 to Cherokee County for expenses incurred when additional officers were called in to respond to the threats. He has been held without bond since his arrest on May 7.
Wilson’s attorney previously requested that Cobb County judges be recused from the case, which was tried in Cobb with a visiting judge from Douglas County.