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Ex-Kansas Principal Sentenced

October 4, 2000

JOHNSON CITY, Kan. (AP) _ An elementary school principal has been sentenced to nearly three years in prison for threatening to blow up a school.

Steve Nelson, who was principal of Johnson Elementary School, called in the bomb threat Dec. 9 against Johnson Middle School, prosecutors said. All schools in the district were evacuated, but no bomb was found.

Nelson, 49, was convicted in August of aggravated criminal threat. He was sentenced Tuesday.

Nelson testified that he was set up by the middle school principal out of professional jealousy. The defense also suggested at trial that someone sneaked into Nelson’s car and used his phone to make the call.

Witnesses testified that shortly after Nelson learned of the bomb threat, he started to investigate how cell phone calls are traced, and even questioned police, cellular phone representatives and staff members.

Nelson was suspended without pay from his principal post pending the outcome of the criminal trial. His professional licenses will be revoked because educators with felonies cannot be employed by educational institutions.

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