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Ex-GSU student pleads to terroristic threats
Caleb Clemmons sentenced to 5 years probation
W CALEB CLEMMONS
Caleb Jamaal Clemmons

A former Georgia Southern University student pleaded guilty Tuesday to issuing terroristic threats via computer.

Under the plea deal, Caleb Jamaal Clemmons, 20, was sentenced to six months in Bulloch County Jail and five years probation. He was credited with the six months he spent in jail because he was unable to make $20,000 bond after he was charged with posting a threat against the Georgia Southern campus on his Tumblr blog in February, Ogeechee Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney Joseph Cushner said Tuesday.

The deal also requires Clemmons to spend 150-180 days in a probation detention center, but that would be suspended after he successfully completes mental health and drug and alcohol evaluations within 30 days, Cushner said.

During the probation, Clemmons is not allowed to be in the judicial circuit — Bulloch, Screven, Effingham and Jenkins counties. Cushner said Clemmons’ family lives in the Atlanta area.

Clemmons also will not be allowed to post on social media while he is on probation, Cushner said.

A psychology major during his time at Georgia Southern, Clemmons often wrote a Tumblr blog under the name “irenigg” and posted this message on Feb. 7: “hello. my name is irenigg and i plan on shooting up georgia southern. pass this around to see the affect it has. to see if i get arrested.”

He was arrested just three hours after posting that message because of an anonymous email sent to university police. A police search of his apartment turned up no weapons and no signs of a plot to attack, The George-Anne, the university’s student newspaper, reported in March.

Clemmons’ case gained national attention after the website gawker.com published an article about it last week. Several others followed, including Huffington Post. All pointed out that Clemmons had spent so long in jail in part because his family had been unable to raise money to post his bond, and some raised the question as to whether the punishment fit the crime.

Clemmons’ mother, Andrea Morris, issued a statement on the petition website change.org titled “Release Clemmons; student prosecuted over ‘terroristic’ Tumblr post”, saying in part that Clemmons is a “strong, intelligent and loving young man” and that “though Caleb may have chosen the wrong time to post a prank, his present punishment and possible fate is beyond my comprehension.”

Cushner said Tuesday that the quick arrest by police and the prosecution of the case show how seriously authorities do — and must — take any public threat.

“He made these threats against the school, Georgia Southern, with the intent to terrorize and cause a disturbance,” Cushner said of Clemmons. “Whenever you have that, many things can go wrong. You never know what's going to happen or how people are going to react. And our priority is the safety of our community.”

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