The Federal Bureau of Investigation's joint terrorism task force has arrested Bryan's Dereon Kelly for sending bomb threats to Texas State University. His ex-girlfriend Brittany Henderson remains jailed in Hays County for the same crime.
Texas State University Police Capt. Daniel Benitez reinforced Thursday that the agency believes 19-year-old Henderson, also of Bryan, to be responsible for the San Marcos threat. An arrest affidavit prepared by the FBI task force, which was unsealed and obtained by The Eagle on Thursday, details Kelly emailing bomb threats to Texas State and Texas A&M University while logged into Henderson's email account. The threats were made on back-to-back days in October and displaced tens of thousands of students, faculty and staff.
Henderson has been held on charges from the Texas State Police Department since Oct. 23. She was held for three days in the Brazos County Jail without bail before it was set to $300,000. She was transported to the Hays County jail on Oct. 31, where her bail was reduced to $40,500.
Henderson's family has repeatedly refused to talk to the media, but Henderson's lawyer John Quinn spoke on their behalf Thursday.
"I am not impressed with what I've seen in terms of everyone handling this," Quinn said. "We emphatically state that Brittany had nothing to do with either bomb threat."
Quinn said Henderson's family believes Texas State police have mishandled the investigation.
"That's why the family wanted to hire a lawyer outside of Hays County," he said.
The family, he said, was not supportive of Henderson's relationship with Kelly, 22, which they said was physically abusive. Kelly's middle and last names differ in law enforcement records, and The Eagle uses the spelling he provided.
Quinn said that Henderson was in good spirits and her parents have been making regular trips to San Marcos to visit her. Quinn said Henderson was willing to take a polygraph test to help prove her innocence.
"I think the case will be eventually dismissed, and it's scary that the government has this much power to jail someone who hasn't done anything wrong, and I hope they do the right thing," Quinn said.
Benitez said Henderson remains charged by the university police department on three counts of making a terroristic threat, a third-degree felony, and three counts of making a false alarm, which is a misdemeanor. The felony charges each carry a penalty of up to a decade in prison and a $10,000 fine, while the misdemeanors are each punishable by up to one year in a county jail and up to a $4,000 fine.
"Nothing is all said and done yet," Benitez said. "Working as best as we can with the evidence. That takes time. We're pretty confident."
Benitez declined to comment on the federal documents that seemingly put the university police at odds with federal authorities.
According to federal court documents, the Internet protocol address from which the Texas State threat was sent on Oct. 18 is a gateway for Verizon Wireless customers. A federal grand jury subpoena of Verizon showed the email was made from a phone number belonging to Kelly.
A follow-up threat later that night also originated from a Verizon IP that was being used at the time by Kelly's phone, the documents state. The Oct. 19 Texas A&M threat followed the similar pattern and came from Henderson's email via Kelly's phone, according to the documents.
The documents detail an interview of Henderson by Bryan police.
"During the interview, Henderson advised email account ... belonged to her but denied involvement in any bomb threats," according to the affidavit. "Henderson also advised she was involved in a current relationship with Dereon Kelley. Kelly reportedly had access to Henderson's Yahoo account. BPD did obtain Henderson's cellular telephone, laptop computer, and family desktop computer on consent."
Bryan police with the FBI utilized The Greater Houston Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory to review text messages on Henderson's phone from Kelly.
The following is a transcript of those messages, according to the federal affidavit justifying Kelly's arrest:
7:08 a.m. "You know what i am trippin hard baby i got pissd [sic] off now i gotta deal with it whenever you ready to talk to me i am sorry baby ilove you."
7:21 a.m. Texas State University receives first bomb threat: "I will blow texas state up to small pieces starting with the admissions office today at three central time."
7:23 a.m. "Call when you wake up baby"
10:58 a.m. "I hav beat myself up all morning for last nite please talk to me"
11:55 a.m. "Baby i was wrong give me the police officer number"
7:33 p.m. "And i logged into your email"
11:28 p.m. "Answer the phone i need to tell you something you gone hate me for it but hey"
11:37 p.m. Texas State University receives second bomb threat "You called the police now I will really blow it up first thing in the morning dumb bitch i am glad i am not a student anymore and you will not find me i am deleting my account"
11:40 p.m. "I love you baby just tired of being hurt and dont like you giving someone else a chance like i am not here think about it"
12:11 a.m. "I love you good nite baby"
12:21 a.m. Texas State University receives third bomb threat "I will not be arrested because they have no proof i did anything because i never brought the bomb on campus but i will tomorrow and they will not be able to find me because im at my house i hate texas state for life the police better not come back here to my house either :) my family will not tell where i am at or whose desktop im on"
12:35 a.m. "Ima go ahead and leave brit I will not be hurt any longer dont all [sic] or text me for anything goodbye you ruined my love life"
11:00 a.m. Texas A&M receives bomb threat: "Campus will be bombed at twelve this afternoon."
11:22 a.m. "I love you but you hurt me brit if you ..."
According to the affidavit, Kelly admitted to sending the text messages. Kelly told police during a series of interviews that he had sole use of his phone and access to Henderson's email account and that the phone number linked to the threats was his, according to the documents.
He is being held in the Brazos County Jail on a $150,000 bail. Texas A&M police charged Kelly with making a terrorist threat that impairs government or public service, a third-degree felony punishable by up to a 10 years in prison and a fine of $10,000. The FBI charged Kelly with a felony violation of the Federal Explosive Materials Statute punishable by up to 10 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.
In a four-page letter sent to The Eagle, Kelly has maintained his innocence and said he was being railroaded by police.