Man who called in threat that shut down Thibodaux schools could face 35-year sentence

Man who called in threat that shut down Thibodaux schools could face 35-year sentence

Man who called in threat that shut down Thibodaux schools could face 35-year sentence

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wwltv.com

Posted on October 11, 2012 at 4:20 PM

 

Katie Urbaszewski / Houma Courier

In January, Judge John LeBlanc ordered a bench warrant for Donald Brooks after he didn't pay his child support. The next month, he was sentenced for contempt and spent 25 days in jail.

In March, LeBlanc ordered a second bench warrant for Brooks, and he later spent 20 days in jail, court records show.

Then, 20 minutes before he was scheduled to appear in court on the same issue Tuesday, police allege he called 911, threatening to damage or destroy several buildings across Thibodaux.

Now, he could spend up to 35 years in prison if he's convicted of terrorizing and communicating false information of a planned arson.

Brooks, 45, was arrested Tuesday after the threat was called in and officials closed courtrooms and schools.

Threats about explosives or bombs can fall under “arson,” according to the state law.

Brooks allegedly made the threats from a cellphone, said police Detective David Melancon. The phone played a major role in tracking down Brooks, though Melancon declined to detail how police found him.

Brooks, 954A St. Charles St., Thibodaux, was ordered in 2006 to pay $100 a month to Shentell Ross and her child, Stella Ross, after a DNA test determined he was the father, records say.

Brooks lives with his wife Lynell and their three children, said neighbor Denise Harris, 45.

The suspect had a friendly and nice side to him, Harris said. He chatted with all the neighbors on the block and made Harris' daughter laugh.

But Brooks had a criminal record, too.

Brooks pleaded guilty to domestic abuse battery in June, court records show. He was given five months in jail, but the judge suspended or eliminated that punishment on the condition that he be on probation.

Because he was on probation when he was arrested Tuesday, Brooks cannot bond out of the Lafourche Parish jail, records show.

He also served at least five years in prison after pleading guilty in September 2000 to two counts of distributing cocaine, according to court records.

Lynell Brooks declined to talk about her husband or what he's accused of.

“She's a good mother, a good wife. That's a good woman,” Harris said of Lynell.

She added the wife and children are quiet neighbors.

When Lynell Brooks came to Harris, shaking, after her husband was arrested, Harris said she tried to give her “strength and faith.”

The Brooks have been together since they were young, Harris said. Their eldest son has since moved out, and they have two children in middle school and one child in elementary school.

Harris's daughter, April Harris, 20, said she hopes the Brooks' children did not get unwanted attention in school the next day since their father became well-known in Thibodaux overnight.

“You know how children can be cruel in school,” April Harris said.

Thibodaux Police, who received the 911 call around 8:40 a.m., accused Brooks of threatening Thibodaux courts, schools and their own police headquarters. They relayed the information to court officials and the Lafourche Parish School Board. District and city courts closed and reopened by 1:30 p.m., Lafourche Parish schools went on lockdown, and Thibodaux public and private schools evacuated after first going on lockdown.

When a school goes on lockdown, teachers close and lock their doors. School staff close and lock all school doors and watch the perimeter to make sure no one enters or exits school grounds.

 

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