Prosecutors drop charges against teen accused in high school bomb threat

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Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect the outcome of the battery charge against Reginald Javon Copeland.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – 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.

Reginald Javon Copeland Jr., 17, of Gainesville was arrested in late 2021 and accused of threatening to bomb Eastside High, the school where he was enrolled through Alachua eSchool, according to court records.

Copeland was among several students accused of sending multiple bomb threats over a week’s time to Eastside High last year, the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office said.

The Alachua County State Attorney’s Office had formally charged Copeland in October 2021 on felony counts of making a false report concerning the planting of an explosive and sending a written threat to do bodily harm or kill. But prosecutors last week abandoned the entire case and dropped all charges.

A spokesman for the State Attorney’s Office, Darry Lloyd, said after their investigation prosecutors could not verify who was responsible.

Eastside High and school district personnel told prosecutors the bomb threat had been sent by email from Copeland’s laptop and that it came from inside the school, Lloyd said. But Copeland was off campus at the time the message was sent, so it was unclear who was at the keyboard when the message was sent.

Copeland was re-arrested last month when his bond was revoked over what his bail bondsman said were concerns he would not attend his upcoming court hearing. Copeland’s mother, Gemeil Lyvette Green, said she was concerned for her son’s safety and surrendered him back to jail because he had violated his curfew at least twice staying out late at night in an area she did not believe was safe.

Copeland was adjudicated as a delinquent last week in an unrelated felony battery charge over accusations he punched and kicked a 13-year-old visitor at the detention center where he was being held last year. He was expected to change his not guilty plea on Oct. 25 in that case. Lloyd said his case is now under the jurisdiction of juvenile court. His mother said Copeland’s violent behavior was because the detention center wasn’t resupplying the medication he was taking at the time.

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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