MACON, Ga. (WRBL) – A former security subcontractor employed at the Athens-Clarke County Democratic Party coordinated campaign office received 18 months in prison after sending a threatening message to bomb their headquarters a day before U.S. Georgia Senators arrived for campaign events.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia, 35-year-old Jessica Diane Higginbotham, also known as Jessica Harriod and Jessica Jones from Elberton, Georgia, was sentenced to 18 months behind bars and two years of supervised release on July 31.
Higginbotham pled guilty to one count of Communicating a Bomb Threat on May 16. Based on court records, on Dec. 3, 2022, at 6:01 p.m., an employee with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in Athens received the following text message: “Hello, I am writing this message to you to let you know that I am coming by either tonight or in the morning to set a bomb up. So I can blow all the Democrats up. I have other people going to other offices also. If I can’t stop you by breaking in and destroying the property then I will blow every one up. So be ready to be blown up. This is going to either happen tonight or in the morning. Hope you like being on the wrong team.”
The FBI immediately initiated an investigation into the threat, and Athens-Clarke County County Police Department responded to the area of the threat.
Using multiple emergency disclosure requests, the FBI found that the cellphone the text was sent from belonged to Higginbotham, who at the time worked as a contract security officer for a firm employed by the campaign.
The U.S. Capital Police also investigated the bomb threat and determined that the threat was sent from Higginbotham’s cellphone. On Dec. 4, 2022, FBI task force officers found Higginbotham at a coffee shop in Athens with the cell phone used to send the threat in hand.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office says once Higginbotham noticed officers she vomited and initially denied sending the threat. A federal search warrant was executed on her cellphone, which contained an email account used in the bomb threat.
FBI agents also learned about a break-in at the Athens-Clarke County Democratic Party headquarters on Nov. 27, 2022, and that a laptop had been stolen.
At the time of the burglary, investigators noticed that the break-in seemed to be staged, with tables turned over, but the building did not present signs of forced entry.
Investigators later found the stolen laptop with Higginbotham’s personal items. She later confessed that she used a cell phone to threaten the headquarters and unlawfully destroy the building with an explosive.