Davis-Besse bomb hoax nets 19-year-old 30 days in jail

PORT CLINTON The girl who cried "Boom" gets 30 days. Katelyn McRitc
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

PORT CLINTON

The girl who cried "Boom" gets 30 days.

Katelyn McRitchie's tears could not cleanse her guilt Wednesday after fabricating a bomb threat against Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station in June.

The Port Clinton teen, 19, exaggerated a story about two Middle Eastern men scribbling "Nuclear Power Plant" and "Boom" with an arrow on a napkin, which led to a federal investigation.

McRitchie, 600 block of Fremont Road, was charged in Ottawa County Municipal Court with one misdemeanor count each of inducing panic and falsification. She pleaded no contest to the charges in July.

At her sentencing hearing Wednesday, she quietly sat as two unidentified people rubbed her shoulders and comforted her.

Addressing Magistrate Lou Wargo, the teen who refused counsel nervously crumpled and folded tissues and occasionally wiped her red, puffy eyes.

"First and foremost," she said clutching her stomach, "I'm so sorry. I never intended for any of this to happen."

McRitchie broke down in tears explaining she never meant for the situation to snowball and her main concern right now is her son, who is in the midst of toilet-training.

Wargo, who allowed the girl to speak before making a decision, broke for a brief recess to determine sentencing. Re-adjusting his position on the bench, Wargo's facial features gave no clue as to what McRitchie's fate would be.

"This is a case that requires a decision that is not easily rendered," he said. "This has presented a potentially grave and serious situation. A sad commentary of the world we live in. Post 9-11, a world we now preside."

Wargo reiterated the matters of the case, including McRitchie's admittance of adding the word "boom" to the inside of the napkin as well as lying by saying two Middle Eastern men made the threat. After another employee saw the note, police were informed and the falsified threat caught the attention of the FBI, U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Coast Guard, Port Clinton Police Department and the Ottawa County Sheriff's office.

"You're very, very fortunate this wasn't addressed in federal or the common pleas court," he said. "You are also very lucky no one is seeking restitution. I'm sure it would be no small amount of money."

Wargo revealed this was not McRitchie's first brush with the law, she had been involved with misuse of another's credit card.

"You have created a pattern of deceit around you," he said. "What's troubling to this court is, as the situation unfolded, you had numerous opportunities to come clean, to put a halt to this."

McRitchie, visibly shaken, winced at Wargo's words.

"The court is left with an individual who has a history of irrational behavior," he said, "but is remorseful."

McRitchie looked straight ahead, clenching her wadded-up tissues in her lap as Wargo sentenced her to 30 days in Ottawa County Jail, $200 in fines and court fees as well as two years probation.

In addition, 150 days jail time hangs above her head for each of the two convictions if she should violate her probation.

As soon as Wargo departed from the court room, McRitchie, refusing comment, rushed out in tears. She will begin serving her sentence Monday.