The Trench Reynolds Crime Report

Crime News That Matters

Suspect pleads guilty:

Do you remember last year when I posted about this dumbass from Hilton Head who got into hot water for calling in threats to a local high school? Well, the dumbass has pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a year served.

Michael Hatcher Cochrane, 24, formerly of Hilton Head Island, was sentenced to one year in prison. Because he already had served 13 months in the Beaufort County jail awaiting trial, he has been released. He will be on probation for the next five years.

Cochrane had been held in the county jail on a $1.22 million bond since his arrest Feb. 14, 2006. In October, an inmate stabbed a pen through his nose, according to his court-appointed attorney Dudley Ruffalo. His attacker was charged with high-and-aggravated assault and was sentenced to five years in prison.

Cochrane now is staying with his family at their new home in Jasper County and must meet regularly with a mental health counselor. As a condition of his sentence, Cochrane will serve 10 years in state prison if he violates probation.

The charges stem from eight phone calls Cochrane made to Hilton Head Middle School and 911 between Jan. 5 and Jan. 20, 2006.

Cochrane claimed to have planted bombs that would kill or injure teachers at the school and threatened to shoot all of the school’s students, arrest warrants stated.

Most of the calls were made from a courtesy phone on the 17th hole of the Sea Marsh Course in Sea Pines, where Cochrane lived.

Sheriff P.J. Tanner said the calls were detailed, graphic and reminiscent of the Columbine basement tapes, videotapes in which the two students involved in the April 1999 shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., discussed their plans.

Tanner said Cochrane made the calls to try to improve his relationship with his then 14-year-old brother, who was a student at the middle school. Investigators said Michael Cochrane thought his younger brother would be impressed and glad that he didn’t have to go to school.

I bet his brother is really impressed now that he’s an ex-con.

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