Jody John Wilson, 45, faces charges in Cherokee and Cobb counties that he called in a bomb threat in January on the day foreclosure sales were taking place, as well as charges for the call made to Cobb 911 on Tuesday — also a foreclosure sale day.
Cobb County followed Cherokee County’s lead Wednesday in charging Wilson, owner of the Starlight Cafe, with the similar incident in January, and he now faces 18 total counts in the two incidents.
“During the course of interviews with the suspect, evidence was obtained that supported a charge against him for the January threats (in addition to Tuesday’s),” said Lt. Jay Baker, spokesman for the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office.
Cherokee County District Attorney Shannon Wallace said Wednesday that if convicted of all eight charges against him in Cherokee County, Wilson could face a minimum of one year on probation and a maximum of 62 years in prison.
Baker said a Cherokee Sheriff’s investigator was sent to Cobb County on Tuesday to participate in questioning Wilson, who is being held in the Cobb County Jail.
Wilson’s motivation for calling in the bomb threats may have been that his home on Surrey Drive in Woodstock was in foreclosure, Baker said.
Wilson’s home, valued at just under $200,000, was not up for sale in Cherokee County on Tuesday, but it has been advertised for sale in the Cherokee Tribune, the county’s legal organ, 10 times since 2010.
Cobb County records indicate that the property where Wilson’s Marietta business, the Starlight Cafe, is located also has back taxes owed for 2011 and 2012, but Cobb authorities have declined to comment on what his motives may have been for calling in the threats.
Tuesday’s threats make the third time in recent months bomb threats have come through Cobb County 911 against the Cherokee courthouse on the first Tuesday of the month, when foreclosures are set to be sold on the courthouse steps.
On June 5, 2012, a bomb threat was called in to Cobb 911 threatening the Cherokee County courthouse. A few hours earlier on the same day, a call was made from Atlanta, also threatening the courthouse in Canton. Authorities said at the time that voices in the two calls did not appear to match.
Wilson’s Woodstock home was set to be sold that day, according to foreclosure notices published in the Cherokee Tribune, which advertises all Cherokee County foreclosures.
The June 2012 call to Cobb 911 originated from a payphone at a gas station 2.5 miles away from Wilson’s Starlight Cafe and on the same street, authorities said at the time.
But Baker said Wilson’s interrogation only yielded enough evidence to charge him in Tuesday’s threats and those from January.
“Even if they suspect that (Wilson made the threats last year) and there’s no evidence, there’s not going to be a charge,” Baker said. “Now, there may be more evidence out there. They may make additional charges, but right now, he’s just charged with those two.”
When Wilson is released from Cobb County custody, Baker said he will be sent to the Cherokee County Adult Detention Center.
But as of Wednesday afternoon, Baker said it’s far from clear when that will happen.
“The ball’s in his court to bond out,” Baker said. “When he bonds out he’ll be coming here.”
Wilson is charged in Cherokee County with two counts of transmitting a false public alarm, two counts of preventing or disrupting lawful meetings, gatherings or processions, two counts of intimidation or injury of grand or petit or court officer and two counts of terroristic threats or acts.
In Cobb, he is also charged with two counts of the same crimes, as well as two counts of making false statements in writing.