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Second arrest made in USF bomb threats

TAMPA — University of South Florida police Wednesday arrested a USF graduate on a charge of making the bomb threat that led to a three-hour campus shutdown Monday.

And before, during and after the hoax, 26-year-old Markenson Innocent posted updates about the incident to his Facebook page, police said.

"It does seem strange, yes," USF police Lt. Meg Ross said.

The Facebook updates mentioned the threat before it was made, described how Innocent boldly walked out of the campus library and even said the caller gave Innocent's full name and address to dispatchers.

Innocent faces one felony count of making a false report of a bomb against state-owned property. He was being held at the Hillsborough County Jail in lieu of $7,500 bail.

Innocent majored in accounting at USF, where he received his bachelor's degree in May 2007. He is from the Little Haiti section of Miami, where he volunteered as a tutor at the Center for Haitian Studies and won a scholarship from Burger King as a high school senior.

His Facebook page lists jobs at major banks and a law firm, but also offers a glimpse into a restless, churning mind.

During a three-hour period before dawn Wednesday, he posted more than a dozen updates on South Florida hip-hop, apocalyptic Christian prophesy, bodybuilding, an early pope, graphic sex, the racial background of Jesus — and, finally, the possibility that he would make the news.

"I hope they get my good side," he wrote.

Police said Innocent called 911 at 1:36 p.m. Monday and gave a fake name of "Isaiah Daniels." He then told dispatchers that a man named Markenson Innocent was at the USF library with a bomb and a gun, police said.

Innocent admitted to making the call, that he was at the library on Monday and that he knew police were looking for him, according to an arrest report. Detectives said he also told friends in the library, "If the cops come, he will blow up."

Police have not determined whether Innocent had any weapons on him at the time.

Innocent's Facebook posts — written under the name "Markenson Makavelli (Markenson C. Innocent)" — included details about the threat that were not public knowledge, police said.

Innocent's USF-related posts included these updates:

• 12:57 p.m. Monday, half an hour before the threat. Innocent said he was heading to the USF library at 1 p.m. and then to Subway for lunch with his girlfriend. "Man I hope they don't pull one of those Black man with Gun or suicide bomber threats again," he wrote. "The police are friends, so Black (people), be careful."

• 5:48 p.m. Monday. "This is getting a little (too) easy," he wrote. "I at least thought that they were going to pat me down, but they couldn't even look me in the eye. U waiting for me to lose it? I guess I'm just here for your amusement. Back home now after an adventurous day."

• 11:09 p.m. Monday. Innocent said his name and address were "CLEARLY given" but officials "won't release the tape."

• About 6 a.m. Wednesday. "I hope they get my good side," he wrote, foreshadowing his arrest. "I gotta look good when I walk out the house. … When alone I ask myself, is it worth it?"

Innocent was approached on campus during Monday's alert, but police couldn't detain him because they had no reason to hold him at the time, Ross said.

Although Innocent gave dispatchers his name, it took a while to figure it out because the recording was garbled and unclear, Ross said. Two detectives worked overnight to make sure they had information they needed to approach him.

Innocent previously worked in the administrative department of the Tampa law firm of Maney | Gordon, according to attorney Jack Gordon, who described the arrest as unbelievable.

Innocent, whom Gordon knew as Mark, was hired after graduating and did accounts payable work for the firm for 10 months. He resigned in May 2008 after indicating that he wanted to go part-time so that he could study for the exam to become a certified public accountant, Gordon said.

His work was good, Gordon said, and neither clients nor other employees ever complained about him.

"He had a very reserved, professional demeanor," he said. "Very quiet. He kept to himself."

After the bomb threat Monday, heavily armed police swarmed the library, sirens blasted warnings throughout campus, and cautionary text messages went out to 56,000 people throughout USF.

About an hour later, police say, USF junior Vincent Thomas Perry McCoy, 23, got up on a campus shuttle and said he had a bomb in his backpack. He also faces a charge of making a false bomb report against state property.

Times researcher John Martin and staff writers Kim Wilmath, Emily Nipps and Amy Mariani contributed to this report.

Second arrest made in USF bomb threats 10/07/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 7, 2009 11:24pm]
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