By RYAN DUNN
BOWLING GREEN — An anonymous letter writer who called himself “The Olde Bastard” threatened in September to blow up North Baltimore Schools. He mailed a similar note to village police a few days later.
That second letter carried the trace imprint of his signature: Dwight W. Bower.
Bower, 58, of Cygnet, was sentenced Tuesday in Wood County Common Pleas Court to two years in prison for his handwritten, threatening messages.
The letters said Bower “can’t wait to blow up your (expletive) schools” and promised he would “burn, mutilate & destroy anything anyone has.”
On Tuesday, Bower stood calmly in court. He required headphones to hear the proceedings.
Judge Robert Pollex referred to Bower’s mental illness while sentencing him on the second-degree felony charge of inducing panic. He credited Bower with 260 days served in jail. Bower had pleaded guilty to the charge in April.
Defense attorney William Stephenson did not mention mental illness, but described Bower as an outsider who deserves sympathy.
Stephenson portrayed Bower as responding suddenly to “incessant humiliations.”
“Mr. Bower has lived his entire life without a criminal charge of any kind, until this happened,” Stephenson said.
Bower apologized to Judge Pollex and asked for treatment.
The prosecution acknowledged Bower’s clear criminal record, but said he deserves a prison sentence.
Bower caused psychological harm to children who grew fearful of attending school, said Gwen Howe-Gebers, chief assistant prosecutor.
The threats affected hundreds of North Baltimore students, village Police Chief Allan Baer said after the hearing. Eighty-six students did not attend school the next day, Baer said.
Bower is a graduate of North Baltimore High School.
After the threatening letters were received, law enforcement conducted large sweeps of school buildings and buses.
Investigators later found the trace imprint of Bower’s signature on the letter sent to police. Bower had signed his name on another piece of paper while it was on top of the threatening letter, Baer said.
Police arrested Bower three weeks after the threats. They found no explosives in his home, Baer said.
The Wood County Sheriff’s Office, Hancock County Sheriff’s Office, and the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification assisted with the case, Baer said.
“Everyone had a vested interest in the safety of our residents, and it was amazing,” Baer said.