Man gets probation in 2012 terrorist threat arrest

Published 2:00 pm Tuesday, December 10, 2013

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

An Alabaster man charged with threatening to “bomb Florida and Arizona” during a 2012 television interview was sentenced to two years of unsupervised probation after pleading guilty to a charge of harassing communications in September 2013.



Alabaster police arrested Ernest Jacks Jr., 69, on Feb. 3, 2012, a few days after the Fox 6 television station aired an interview with Jacks. Jacks’ address is listed in the 120 block of Kentwood Way, which is off Kent Dairy Road.

He was charged with one felony count of making terrorist threats and posted a $15,000 bond the day after his arrest, according to court documents.

During the televised interview, Jacks claimed “I will solve Social Security. How I’ll do that is I’ll bomb Florida and Arizona where there’s thousands of them. And then we won’t have to pay their Social Security checks.”

Jacks also said “in essence, I’m the anti-Christ” during the interview. Alabaster Police Chief Curtis Rigney previously said Jacks’ arrest was tied to the comments he made during the interview.

During a Sept. 26 hearing at the Shelby County Courthouse, Jacks pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of misdemeanor harassing communications through a plea agreement.

Circuit Court Judge Dan Reeves suspended Jacks’ original 90-day jail sentence, and instead sentenced Jacks to two years of unsupervised probation, during which he must pass random drug and alcohol screens.

At the time of his arrest, Jacks was the roommate of David Gatlin, who was convicted of murdering his estranged wife in 1993. Gatlin was serving a life sentence for the crime when he was pardoned in January 2012 by outgoing Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and released from prison.

During the 2012 television interview, Jacks said he and Gatlin were longtime friends and were living together at the Kentwood Way house.