Teen accused in high school bomb threat re-arrested over questions whether he would attend court hearing to change not guilty plea

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Update, Oct. 4, 2022: Prosecutors have dropped their felony criminal case against a teenager accused of sending a bomb threat to his high school last year, acknowledging they did not know who was at the keyboard of the laptop used to send the threatening message. Read the full story here.

Original story, Sept. 23, 2022Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify that Copeland will change his not guilty plea and include the explanation from his mother why his bond was revoked. 

A teenager accused of making a bomb threat at his high school last year is back in jail after his bail bondsman said he learned that the teen was planning to skip out on an upcoming hearing where he will change his not guilty plea, according to court records.

The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office re-arrested Reginald Javon Copeland Jr., 17, on Wednesday. He was initially arrested Oct. 6 last year over allegations he had sent a bomb threat to Eastside High, the school he was attending via Alachua eSchool, court documents said.

Copeland was scheduled to appear in the circuit court next month to change his not guilty plea in the case accused of making the bomb threat and another case involving a battery charge after he was first arrested. His bail bondsman, Sam Wesley, said he was told Copeland was planning not to show up.

Wesley told the sheriff’s office that Copeland “planned to skip court.” Wesley said a situation like this rarely happens.

Copeland’s mother, Gemeil Lyvette Green, said in an interview late Friday she was responsible for revoking her son’s bond because he had violated his curfew at least twice. She said she was concerned about his safety because he was out late at night spending time in an area she did not believe was safe.

Green said she and her husband brought Copeland to surrender him to Wesley, who turned him over to the sheriff’s office. 

The explanations about the revoked bond from Copeland’s mother and the bail agent could not immediately be reconciled.

Copeland’s original bond was set at $20,000 but was doubled to $40,000 after he was re-arrested.

The bomb threat attributed to Copeland was one in a series of such threats made to Eastside High last year. Copeland was ordered by the judge until his trial not to go near Eastside High and have no access to the internet or social media, according to court records.

Copeland was charged with making a false report concerning the planting of an explosive and sending a written threat to do bodily harm or kill. He was also charged with battery by a person detained in jail over accusations he punched and kicked a 13-year-old visitor on Oct. 9 last year.

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This is a breaking news story. Check back for further developments. Contact WUFT News by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

About Bryce Schuele

Bryce is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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