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Autistic Man Gets Plea Deal In School Bomb Threats

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GRAND BLANC (WWJ/AP) – A prosecutor has approved a no-jail plea deal for a 28-year-old man who made bomb threats against Flint-area schools because of the defendant’s mental health disability.

Jeffrey D. Cox pleaded no contest Wednesday to malicious use of a telecommunications device, a misdemeanor.

Defense lawyer Michael Manley said the deal was reached after he provided extensive documentation to prosecutors that showed his client is mentally disabled.

“My client is severely disabled with Asperger syndrome and autism,” Manley told MLive.com.

Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said he took Cox’s disability into consideration when the agreement was made.

“He’s severely impaired,” Leyton said. Police also agreed with the deal, Leyton said.

Cox was arrested in September on charges of making a false bomb threat and using a computer to commit a crime. Authorities say Cox made an email threat against Grand Blanc High School and two middle schools for the first day of school.

Police called in eight police canine units to search all three school buildings. There also was a heavy police presence when classes started.

The plea agreement calls for Cox to pay $5,600 in restitution for law enforcement’s response to the threats. He was also banned from using a computer.

Cox’s sentencing hearing will be delayed for 11 months in order for the court to evaluate if he is making sufficient progress paying the restitution.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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