Dowagiac man accepts plea deal for 2019 bomb threat

CASSOPOLIS – The Dowagiac man who caused a lockdown of Cass County government buildings last June has accepted a plea deal.

Patrick Kyle McMeeken is scheduled to be sentenced June 26 in Cass Circuit Court on three felony charges.

McMeeken, 32, appeared via video Wednesday in Cass County Circuit Court for a pretrial hearing before Circuit Judge Mark Herman. McMeeken, who is currently in prison on unrelated charges, pleaded guilty to false report or threat of terrorism, use of a computer to commit a crime and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz said Thursday that he is pleased with the outcome.

“My office is pleased with this resolution,” he said. “It insures a strong response to a crime extremely disruptive and costly to the justice system.”

Fitz reported that the plea agreement called for McMeeken to serve a minimum of six years in prison with a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison. While McMeeken pleaded as charged to the three counts, he will not be sentenced as a habitual offender, which could have increased the maximum penalty of up to life in prison.

McMeeken’s sentencing in late June will come just over a year from the June 21, 2019, incident that had both the Cass County Administration Building in downtown Cassopolis and the Law and Courts Building on M-62 evacuated for a few hours.

The sheriff’s department received two phone calls that morning indicating that a bomb had been placed inside the Law and Courts Building and was set to go off. Both that building and the county administration building next to the historic courthouse were then evacuated. Both buildings were cleared by late that morning after a thorough search.

McMeeken was arrested July 12, 2019, after an investigation by the Cass County Sheriff’s Department and the Cass County Drug Team. The sheriff’s department had been assisted at the time of the June 21 incident by the Michigan State Police as well as the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office which brought their bomb dog that day.

County officials said at the time that the staff conduct security drills twice a year. It was believed to be the first bomb threat to the Law and Courts building since it opened in 2003.

McMeeken is currently in prison for possession of narcotics, possession of meth and carrying a concealed weapon after being sentenced July 26, 2019. He received a sentence of four years in prison on the weapon and meth charges and a concurrent two-year sentence on the narcotics charge.