KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – A Knoxville man was arrested and appeared in federal court after he posted a threat to social media saying he “built a bomb and everyone in Knoxville will die on Thanksgiving.”
A criminal complaint says Franklin Delano Jeffries, 43, who uses the name “Dale Jeffries” on Facebook, is charged with transmitting in interstate commerce any communication containing any threat to injure the person of another.
According to the affidavit, a special agent with the FBI received information that Jeffries had made the threatening post to Facebook. WATE 6 On Your Side received numerous messages from concerned citizens about the post.
The agent recognized Jeffries as the same man who was convicted of making threats in 2011, and was sentenced to 18 months in prison and mental health treatment. Jeffries violated his supervised release the next year for possession of a controlled substance and failing to take all the medication associated with his mental health treatment. He was then sentenced to 12 months in prison.
The FBI began surveillance of his apartment on Wednesday and saw him and another man hook a trailer to a gold Chevrolet pickup truck. Jeffries was the passenger. The truck then pulled into an unoccupied church on Western Avenue and then drove to a self storage facility on Cedar Bluff Road. There, Jeffries began to load boxes from the storage unit and place them in the truck.
FBI agents then took Jeffries into custody around 2 p.m, at which time he said, “I don’t even have a bomb.”
Jeffries has already made an appearance in federal court on Wednesday. A preliminary and detention hearing is set for November 29. If convicted, he could face up to five years in prison.
Jeffries’ 2011 conviction was in relation to a video posted on YouTube in which prosecutors said he threatened a Knox County chancellor. In court, he claimed the video was never meant to be sent to the chancellor and he didn’t mean any harm.