, Muskogee, OK

March 28, 2013

Bomb threat empties another courthouse

This time, it's in Cherokee County

By Dylan Goforth
Phoenix Staff Writer

— No arrests have been made in an early morning bomb scare at the Cherokee County Courthouse.

Cherokee County Undersheriff Jason Chennault said three people were detained Wednesday afternoon, shortly after the building was cleared. All three were released before 4 p.m., he said.

Chennault said a man called the court clerk’s office about 8:40 a.m. and made the threat to a clerk who answered the phone.

“All the clerk remembers is the man said he’s ‘tired of paying (expletive) taxes and fines,’ and that he was going to blow up the courthouse,” Chennault said.

The courthouse was evacuated immediately. Hundreds of people streamed outside into nearby streets. he said.

Members of the sheriff’s office, Tahlequah Police Department, Tahlequah Fire Department, Oklahoma Highway Patrol and U.S. Department of Alcohol, Tobacco,  Firearms and Explosives searched the building, which was cleared about 11 a.m. The building was re-opened at 1 p.m. after bomb-detecting dogs and OHP investigators conducted a secondary search of the three-story building.  

This was the second area courthouse bomb threat this year.

Jessica Dugger, 38, of Muskogee was charged in February with making bomb threats to the Muskogee County Courthouse as well as the Muskogee Police Department.

Dugger allegedly called the courthouse Feb. 2 and said her husband, a military veteran, was driving there to blow up the building with C-4 explosives. While local authorities attempted to track the number the call came from, Dugger allegedly called the police station two days later to make a similar threat.

Dugger’s preliminary hearing is set for 9 a.m. May 15.

Reach Dylan Goforth at (918) 684-2903 or