Two American women arrested after they allegedly posted about a bomb threat and lied about two local lawyers on Twitter have been released from custody.
Hepzibah Nanna, 28, of Maryland, and 42-year-old Sharyn Richardson of Texas, who had reportedly come to St. John's on a "missionary trip," were arrested over the weekend at St. John's International Airport. They each face charges of conveying a false bomb threat on Twitter with the intent to alarm the airport authority, resisting or obstructing a police officer, causing a disturbance, and multiple counts of publishing defamatory libel by posting on Twitter information about two local women that they knew was not true.
Nanna and Richardson both indicated to Judge Lois Skanes they were agreeing to abide by a number of release conditions, including that they each pay $2,500 cash; that they reside at specific addresses in Maryland and Texas or notify police of any change; that they report to RNC headquarters within 24 hours of their release for photographing and fingerprinting and that they check in with the RNC weekly by phone; that they have no contact with the two women they are accused of defaming; that they stay off all social media, including YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram; and that they stay away from St. John's International Airport.
The women have made other arrangements to leave St. John's, the court heard.
Skanes told Nanna and Richardson they are due to return to court in St. John's on Aug. 2.
"We're at St. John's airport in New Foundland," read one of the tweets connected with the criminal charges, which also included photos taken through what appears to be an airport window. "We found out they were going to bomb Sharyn's flight which she luckily didn't get on. Now the airport is empty except they just cordoned off this area where we are sitting."
Another of the tweets in question alleged the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had sent people to harass Nanna. It included a photo taken from the inside of an airplane, depicting two women who appear to be traveling on the flight. The women are both established Newfoundland lawyers with no apparent connection to Nanna or Richardson.
"Good news is we rescued a 14 year old girl on the flight who was being trafficked. The 2 women in right pic are traffickers," read the tweet, which is no longer available.
Last month, posts on a Facebook page called "Revivalist Hepzibah Nanna" were soliciting tax-deductible donations for what was described as a ministry trip to Newfoundland, asking donors to send money through a PayPal address in Nanna's name.
Sources say Nanna and Richardson had planned to go from St. John's to New York and then Turks and Caicos before they were arrested.
The page describes Nanna as a survivor of satanic ritualistic abuse, a published author and a spiritual adviser to Bill and Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama, adding Nanna lives at home in Maryland with her parents and her dog.
Testimonials posted on the website for The Lion Triumphs Ministries, which was reportedly co-founded by Nanna, claim prayers from Nanna and others cured them of things like infertility, cerebral palsy and HIV.
Earlier this week, Nanna spoke to reporters as she was escorted out of court, asking if they were being paid by Blackwater to film her. Blackwater, known now as Academi, is an American private military company with reported connections to the CIA.