BRENTWOOD — A judge rejected a petition by prison officials to put a Somersworth man on work release after he served only two months in state prison for calling in a bomb threat to the Rockingham County courthouse in December.
Jonathan Long, 27, will have to serve most of his two-year minimum sentence before being allowed to petition the court again, a judge decided.
He was sentenced in July to two to four years in state prison in connection with calling in the threat on Dec. 4.
Judge N. William Delker told Long at a hearing on Thursday that he would likely benefit from working toward paying off his restitution for setting off the massive law enforcement response at the Route 125 complex.
But Delker said it was also important for the court to maintain “the confidence of the public that serious crimes receive serious sentences.”
On Dec. 4, Long told a 911 dispatcher there were two pipes bombs in the courthouse that were going to explode between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.
He made the call while sitting in a car up the road at the intersection of routes 125 and 101.
Assistant County Attorney Brad Bolton said the county objected to the prison’s request to release Long, given his history of trying to dupe the court system in the past.
Long was expected to face sentencing in another case on the day he called in the bomb threat, Bolton said. In that case, Long had created a bogus doctor’s letter and submitted it to a judge so that he could be freed from jail on electronic monitoring, according to Bolton.
The letter claimed that Long’s 2-month-old son needed surgery to drain fluid from around his brain.
Long was serving a 12-month jail sentence at the time for violating the terms of his probation on forgery and theft convictions, according to court records. He called his wife from jail with instructions on how to create a letter so that it resembled one that came from an actual doctor who worked at Children’s Hospital in Boston.
Long has already spent 341 days in jail since his arrest in the bomb threat case.
At a hearing on Thursday, Long told the judge that he wanted to pay his restitution to the county and become self-sufficient before being released from prison.
Part of Long’s sentence requires him to pay approximately $3,000 in restitution — with $2,652 going to the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Department and the remainder to state police for the hours-long response.
Scores of people were evacuated from the building and a bomb-sniffing state police K-9 was brought in to comb the inside and outside of the courthouse.
Long pointed out that he had no incidents or disciplinary write-ups while in prison, and obtained his GED while incarcerated at the county jail.
Delker said he would entertain a second petition from Long in about 90 days when he is closer to his minimum parole date in July 2014.