Man charged in threat hoax at Liberty High School in Bethlehem heading to trial

Shae Quawn Najee Watson faces numerrous charges in April incident

Man charged in school threat hoax heading to trial

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Students and teachers at Liberty High School in Bethlehem remember the day in April when a phone call about gunmen caused a school-wide scare.

Shae Quawn Najee Watson, one of the men charged in connection with the hoax, learned Friday that he will be heading to trial.

In court, Watson's defense attorney, Eric Dowdle, argued there is no evidence that his client made the bogus 911 call to the school.

"My client wasn't there when the phone call happened. We know he didn't do it," Dowdle said.

A 911 call was made April 16 saying three armed men had entered the school, police said. After a full-scale police response kept students and teachers on edge all day, the call was deemed to be hoax.

Investigators traced the call to a trac phone bought at a Walmart in Bethlehem Township, Northampton County. Video surveillance captured two men walking in and buying the phone. One was heavily disguised; the other, police said, was Watson, who was picked up a few weeks later and had possession of the phone at his house.

In court, Watson's attorney said his client didn't buy the phone, made no attempt to hide and had no idea what his friend in disguise had planned.

Was it probably the best idea? Yeah, but that doesn't mean he knows someone wearing a mask was going to do something like that," Dowdle said

The judge didn't buy it and bounded all but one of the charges for trial. As for that second person, authorities said Watson has given them a name.

"We have suspect, but that person was heavily disguised. It's a local person, but we're not in a position where we can charge," said Northampton County Deputy District Attorney Jim Augustine.

Authorities said the phone is being analyzed by the FBI.

Watson, 25, of Salisbury Township, Lehigh County, is facing several felony charges related to making terroristic threats and is due back in court the end of July.

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Allentown, PA 18102




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