The Baton Rouge man accused of calling in a bomb threat to LSU last month pleaded innocent Thursday to a state charge that could ultimately expose him to up to 40 years behind bars if convicted, a prosecutor said.
Two days after pleading not guilty in U.S. District Court to a federal charge stemming from the Sept. 17 incident, William Bouvay Jr., 42, pleaded not guilty in state District
Court to a felony charge of communicating false information of a planned bombing on school property.
The state charge carries a maximum prison term of 20 years, but if Bouvay is convicted of the charge, East Baton Rouge Parish Assistant District Attorney Jesse Bankston said, he will seek to have Bouvay sentenced as a habitual offender because he has two prior felony convictions in New Mexico and Louisiana.
Under the habitual offender guidelines, Bouvay would face a sentence of 13 to 40 years, the prosecutor said.
State District Judge Lou Daniel on Thursday appointed the East Baton Rouge Parish Public Defender’s Office to represent Bouvay on the state charge.
The federal public defenders office is representing him on a federal charge of willfully conveying false information concerning the attempt to destroy property by means of explosives. He faces up to 10 years in prison on that charge.
Bankston said Bouvay is being prosecuted in state and federal court because he allegedly violated state and federal laws.
“We have an interest because it’s a crime that affected a state college,” he said.
Bouvay is scheduled to appear again in state and federal court in December.
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.
Authorities shut down LSU’s campus for more than 12 hours following the threat. 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 residence at 8224 Skysail Ave., near Gardere Lane.
Bouvay admitted to authorities he called in the bomb threat. He was arrested and booked into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.
He is now being held without bond in federal custody at the West Baton Rouge Parish Prison.
Authorities have said they know why Bouvay made the bomb threat but have declined to disclose those reasons other than to say the threat was isolated to LSU.
Bankston said Bouvay was put on probation from January 1999 until January 2003 after being convicted in Silver City, N.M., on three felony counts of fraudulent use of a credit card and one felony count of larceny. Bouvay also was convicted in Baton Rouge state court in May 2011 on a felony charge of domestic abuse battery by strangulation and put on probation for 18 months, the prosecutor said. He was still on probation at the time of the LSU incident.
Bouvay 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 East Baton Rouge Parish clerk of court records.