While he never saw a judge Tuesday due to a bomb threat at the Bedford County courthouse, a man accused of planning a pair of slayings had his next court date set.
James Otis Mears, 54, is scheduled to make his third appearance in General Sessions Court on Jan. 22 for two counts of criminal attempt to commit first degree murder, being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and violation of probation.
Mears, who is being held on $1,250,000 bond at the Bedford County Jail, has been accused of purchasing a gun with the intention of killing two informants who reported him for alleged sexual abuse.
The continuance was granted to Mears and other defendants Tuesday after court had to be evacuated due to bomb threats that were directed at courthouses all across the state.
Mears was arrested in September after he was caught in a sting operation allegedly attempting to buy a gun from a Shelbyville police detective.
Detective Carol Jean had been alerted to a possible sex abuse case in late August and interviewed Mears, but was not able to develop enough information to make an arrest.
However, the next morning, Bedford County Deputy Garcia Jordan informed Shelbyville detectives that he learned that Mears was attempting to purchase a firearm so he could kill the people involved in making the accusations.
"The informant believed if he didn't get the firearm from him he would from someone else," Detective Sgt. Brian Crews said, so a sting was set up where Detective Sam Jacobs sold him the gun.
Due to the fact that Mears was already a convicted felon, he was arrested for buying the weapon. A further investigation led to the belief that he possessed intent to purchase a firearm so he could kill the two informants, Crews explained at the time.
The Bedford County Sheriff's Department and 17th Judicial District Drug Task Force were also involved in the investigation.
-- T-G copy editor David Melson contributed to this report.