Former Police Officer Give Probation for Staged Olympic Bomb Scare
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A former policeman who planted a bomb aboard an Olympic bus so he could look like a hero by removing it was sentenced Friday to five years probation and ordered to undergo counseling.
Jimmy Pearson, who resigned from the force shortly after the hoax, was also fined $10,000 by Superior Court Judge Gerald Levie and ordered to serve 1,500 hours of community service.
″His service was exemplary and he was a hard-working and determined policeman for nine years, with excellent evaluations and numerous commendations, ″ Levie said. ″Now it’s all destroyed - nine years down the drain.″
Levie could have sentenced Pearson to four years in prison.
″This was what we wanted,″ said Pearson’s attorney, Barry Levin. ″We wished to avoid his going to state prison.″
Pearson pleaded guilty in July to possessing explosives, a felony. Under the conditions of his probation, he is prohibited from possessing weapons of any type.
Pearson is receiving psychological counseling, Deputy District Attorney Lawrence Mason said.
Pearson, 41, was accompanying a bus carrying luggage of Turkish athletes to Los Angeles International Airport from their quarters at the University of California at Los Angeles after the Summer Games on Aug. 13, 1984.
At the airport, he claimed to have discovered the pipe bomb in a wheel well of the bus, then removed it and disarmed it.
Pearson was at first hailed as a hero. But the next day, after an all-night investigation, police announced that Pearson had been arrested and charged with planting the bomb to attract attention to himself.
They said Pearon apparently felt he was being overlooked by his superiors and wanted to do something dramatic to get their attention.
Police said that had the bomb exploded, it could have injured anyone nearby.