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Woman sentenced for making bomb threat

Gayle Dotson sits nervously with her attorney, Rolf Baumgartel, as she’s sentenced to two years community control Friday morning. (Photo by Michele Newbanks)

MARIETTA — More than a year after calling in a bomb threat at Boxers Bed & Biscuits in Belpre, Gayle Dotson was sentenced to two years community control Friday morning.

Dotson, 50, of 2446 Dutch Ridge Road, was arrested in July 2019 on the charge of making false alarms.

She had been an employee of Boxers Bed & Biscuits, 1301 Washington Blvd., when she reported in the threat. Dotson reportedly told police she made the call about the bomb threat up because the owner of the business, Angela Beck, promoted someone else to assistant manager.

Washington Boulevard was shut down while officers investigated the bomb threat, which affected the surrounding businesses.

Dotson was indicted in October 2019 on one count of making false alarms and one count of inducing panic, both fourth-degree felonies.

She initially pleaded not guilty in October 2019 before changing her plea in November 2019 to not guilty by reason of insanity.

In July, she pleaded guilty to the making false alarms charge. The second count was dismissed as part of the agreement.

During Friday’s sentencing, a representative from Boxers read a statement from Beck.

“Boxers Bed & Biscuit’s team would like to express our deepest disappointment in the thoughtless act of a highly valued employee,” she read.

She said they understood Dotson must be punished for the financial loss and emotional strain caused to first responders, businesses and the community.

“We do ask for the court’s leniency as we strongly believe it was never Gayle’s intent to cause harm to anyone except the owner of Boxers in response to a promotion passover,” the representative said.

Defense attorney Rolf Baumgartel said despite Dotson’s actions that day, she was committed to her job. He said that she had significant mental health issues that day that contributed to her actions.

He asked that she receive probation.

Washington County Assistant Prosecutor David Silwani said no local businesses affected by the call have so far asked for restitution, but restitution should be paid to Boxers for $1,739.96.

On her own behalf, Dotson apologized to the businesses in Belpre, Boxers and her family and friends.

Washington County Common Pleas Judge Mark Kerenyi said Dotson’s actions were more serious as her occupation and relationship with the victim were used to facilitate the offense.

He noted she had no record of any kind and genuinely showed remorse.

Along with the two years of community control, she was sentenced to 200 hours of community service which must be completed in the next year.

If she doesn’t complete the 200 hours or violates her probation in any way, she could be sentenced to the maximum of 18 months in jail, Kerenyi said.

As she is on community control, she must get permission from the Adult Parole Authority to leave the state of Ohio. If she doesn’t receive a travel pass to West Virginia, where she resides, she will be “stuck here for the weekend,” he added.

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