BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- A 43-year-old Baton Rouge man was sentenced to 24 years in prison Friday for calling in a bomb threat that closed LSU's main campus for more than 12 hours on Sept. 17.
"You used a telephone as a weapon to create fear. That was a cowardly and shameful act," state District Judge Lou Daniel told William Bouvay Jr., The Advocate reports.
Bouvay, a three-time convicted felon, pleaded guilty in April to a felony charge of communicating false information of a planned bombing on school property. But because he has two prior felony convictions in New Mexico and Louisiana, he faced a sentence of 13 to 40 years as a habitual offender. His plea deal brought the maximum possible sentence down to 28 years.
Daniel said he must serve the 24 years without benefit of parole.
East Baton Rouge Parish Assistant District Attorney Adam Haney told Daniel that Bouvay's bomb threat had an incalculable emotional impact and caused LSU and surrounding businesses to lose an estimated $1.4 million.
There are some 30,000 students at LSU, meaning 60,000 parents feared for the safety of their children, Haney said.
"LSU was fielding calls from all over the world," he noted. "This defendant's actions had impacts that spanned the globe."
Bouvay apologized to the LSU and Baton Rouge communities. His attorney, Maurice Hall, said Bouvay is now involved in prison ministries and "is on the road to redemption."
Daniel acknowledged that Bouvay cooperated with authorities after his arrest and accepted responsibility for his actions, but the judge stressed that Bouvay has "a history of using the telephone as a weapon," as well as his words.
"Your criminal history, sir, is extensive," the judge said.
Bouvay was convicted in 2011 on a felony charge of domestic abuse battery by strangulation and was still on probation for that crime at the time of the LSU offense. He also served probation from January 1999 until January 2003 for a conviction on three felony counts of fraudulent use of a credit card and one felony count of larceny in New Mexico.
He also pleaded guilty in the mid-1990s to a misdemeanor charge of improper phone communication and was sentenced to 60 days of probation, according to records in the East Baton Rouge Parish Clerk of Court's Office. That incident involved a threat to an employee at LSU, Daniel said.
In November, federal prosecutors dropped a federal charge against Bouvay of conveying a false bomb threat because a successful state prosecution would result in a stiffer sentence.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, Bouvay called 911 at 10:32 a.m. Sept. 17 and told a 911 dispatcher, "Yes, I planted three bombs at LSU's campus. My colleagues planted three bombs at LSU to go off in two hours if my... ." The caller did not finish that sentence.
"This is not a joke. I'm gonna go there and ... ," the caller said before the call was disconnected.
No bombs were found.
Authorities traced the number using GPS technology to a deactivated cellphone that could be used only for emergency calls, LSU police have said. The phone was found at Bouvay's home.