Judge Orders Arrest Of Woman Who Skipped Sentencing

CENTER, Neb. — A Knox County District Court judge has issued a bench warrant for the arrest of a Yankton woman who failed to appear for her sentencing on a bomb threat.

Judge Mark A. Johnson took the action Tuesday at the Knox County Courthouse in Center.

Christi Johnson, 34, was scheduled for sentencing on a charge of threatening the use of explosives. She was charged with making a bomb threat last August that resulted in the evacuation of two Creighton, Nebraska, schools.

The Class IV felony carries a maximum punishment of two years in prison with 12 months of post-release supervision and/or a $10,000 fine.

However, Johnson failed to appear for her June 30 sentencing, according to court records. At the proceedings, the state was represented by Knox County Attorney John Thomas and Knox County Deputy Attorney Samantha Holacek. Norfolk, Nebraska, attorney Fred Bartell appeared as counsel for the defendant.

When Johnson failed to appear, her attorney sought more time in the proceedings.

“Counsel for the defendant moved the court for a continuance. The State objected. The Court overruled the motion,” the journal entry said.

“The Court noted the defendant’s failure to appear and ordered a bench warrant for the defendant’s arrest and detention. Bond is revoked.”

As part of a plea deal, Johnson pleaded guilty Feb. 25 to the one count of threatening the use of explosives.

The charge alleges that Johnson, on or about Aug. 21, 2019, “did convey any threat or maliciously convey to Creighton Public Schools false information knowing the same to be false, concerning an attempt or alleged attempt being made or to be made to kill, injure or intimidate any individual or unlawfully to damage or destroy any building, vehicle or other real or personal property by means of any explosive material or destructive device commits the offense of threatening the use of explosives.”

In exchange for her guilty plea on the explosives charge, the state dismissed the second count of false reporting, a Class I misdemeanor. The charge carries with it a maximum sentence of one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

The charge had alleged that Johnson “did furnish information she knew to be false to Creighton Public Schools, concerning the location of any explosive in (a) building.”

Johnson allegedly used the phrase, “Robert said there is a bomb in the school,” according to court records.

Johnson’s bomb threat to the Creighton Community Schools resulted in immediate evacuation of students and staff to a nearby church. Because of the phone call’s generic nature, students and staff at St. Ludger, a Catholic elementary school in Creighton, were evacuated to the Creighton Fire Hall.

Authorities swept through both schools with a K-9 dog and handler but didn’t find any bombs or other explosives. The buildings were declared clear and safe for use.

Law enforcement traced the call to Johnson, who was interviewed in Yankton and confessed to phoning the threat. She turned herself in to the Knox County Jail in Center/

At the time, Sioux City television station KCAU reported Johnson made the bomb threat as a diversion for her ex-boyfriend, who was the object of a manhunt in the Creighton area.

Johnson’s sentencing remains on hold until she appears in person for the proceedings, according to a Knox County court official.

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