False Bomb Threat in South Florida Results in Arrest
November 8, 2022 Don Pumphrey, Jr. Criminal Defense, News & Announcements, Violent Crimes Social Share
Threatening to cause harm or injury to another person is against the law. If an individual threatens others with a weapon or other devices of mass destruction, the penalties can be extremely harsh.
A recent case in South Florida shows the possible outcomes of someone pretending to use a bomb to threaten others. This article will provide details from the case, along with information on aggravated assault and threatening/displaying a weapon of mass destruction in Florida.
What was the Incident?
On October 27th, 2022, Brian Koller entered Wilton Manors Dental Office around 3 pm. Koller, 45, walked into the building on 2517 NE 9 Ave and stated that he had a bomb on his person.
According to the Wilton Manors’ Police Department, the employees called the police and began to evacuate the building. Once the police arrived, the neighboring businesses were evacuated, and part of Wilton Drive was closed off.
“We got the call from the police department saying, ‘You’ve got to close, because it could be dangerous,’” said neighboring business owner Leonardo Valdi.
Police spent the next several hours trying to get Koller to exit the building, as he had barricaded himself in. Eventually, the SWAT team was called to the scene and managed to get Koller out of the building.
Authorities were able to identify that the bomb was just a hoax, and Koller was arrested just before 11 pm. He has since been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, property damage, and displaying/threatening the use of a weapon of mass destruction.
“It was like a movie…SWAT team, helicopter, drone, robot, all kinds of officers here, like a movie,” Valdi said.
Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon
Aggravated assault is an enhancement to a regular assault charge. Under Florida Statute section 784.021, aggravated assault has four elements that the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The defendant intentionally and unlawfully threatened with words or by act, to commit an act of physical violence on the alleged victim;
- The alleged victim believed that at the time of the threat, the defendant appeared to carry the ability to carry out the threat;
- The defendant’s threat created a well-founded fear in the alleged victim that the defendant was going to act out in a physically violent manner; and
- The assault was committed or attempted with a deadly weapon, or during a committed or attempted felony.
In Florida, aggravated assault is considered a third-degree felony. A third-degree felony has penalties of up to a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison.
Defenses to Aggravated Assault
Although aggravated assault is an enhancement to a standard assault charge, there are still defenses that can be used for a person accused of this crime.
The following is a list of some potential defenses that could be used in an aggravated assault case:
- Stand Your Ground Law
- False accusations by the alleged victim
- Inability to carry out the alleged threat
- Lack of provable intent
- Insufficient evidence of the intent to commit a felony
- The object/device used is not considered a deadly weapon
The best way to figure out which defense works best for your specific case is to work with a skilled defense attorney in your area.
Displaying Use of Mass Destruction in Florida
Florida Statute section 790.166 explains the penalties for the use or threatened use of a weapon of mass destruction. It is unlawful for anyone to possess, use, manufacture, display, or sell any weapon of mass destruction.
A “weapon of mass destruction” is defined as any object or device that is intended or designed to cause serious bodily harm or death to any human or animal, or that is intended to cause severe mental or emotional harm to any individual, through the dissemination, release, or impact of toxic or poisonous chemicals.
A “hoax weapon of mass destruction” is defined under Florida law as any object or device that appears to be a weapon of mass destruction by its design, construction, content, or characteristics. However, the device is actually an inoperative facsimile, imitation, counterfeit, or representation of a weapon of mass destruction.
Section 790.166(4) of the Florida Statute states that any person who displays or threatens to use a hoax weapon of mass destruction while committing or attempting to commit a felony commits a second-degree felony. A second-degree felony in Florida has penalties of up to a $10,000 fine and up to 15 years in prison.
Finding a Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida
If you or a loved one have been accused of an assault charge, it is in your best interest to seek out legal advice. An experienced Tallahassee criminal defense lawyer will work with you to build a strong defense. Don Pumphrey and his team at Pumphrey Law Firm have represented clients for varying criminal charges across the state of Florida. Contact us today for a free consultation at (850) 681-7777 or leave us an online message on our website.
Written by Karissa Key