NEW CUMBERLAND - A man facing charges for allegedly placing three explosive devices around the Weirton Municipal Building in May will be going before a grand jury after appearing before Magistrate Court Judge Michael S. White Monday, who determined that there is probable cause to proceed with the case.
David Jared Patterson, 23, is being charged with three counts of criminal use of an explosive device.
Weirton-based attorney Alex Risovich is representing Patterson, whose bond was reduced on June 14 from $150,000 to $25,000 per count.
DAY?IN?COURT — David Jared Patterson, left, appeared for a preliminary hearing at the Hancock County Magistrate Court Monday. Patterson was arrested May 21 in connection with the discovery of three chemical explosive devices around the Weirton Municipal Building on the night of May 5. Weirton-based attorney Alex Risovich is representing Patterson. -- Shae Dalrymple
Hancock County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jack Wood represented the state at the hearing.
Weirton Police Chief Bruce Marshall, Sgt. Ricky Grishkevich and Officer Mark D'Angelo testified and recounted the events leading up and surrounding Patterson's arrest on May 21.
D'Angelo said that at about 10:30 p.m. on May 5, he pulled into the parking lot of the Municipal Plaza in his cruiser and spotted a man near the employee entrance of the Weirton Municipal Building. The suspect was wearing a dark, hooded shirt and dark pants, and because of the time of night, D'Angelo said he considered it suspicious. The suspect fled and escaped, according to D'Angelo's testimony. When he pursued the suspect, he found one of the devices in front of the city building. D'Angelo said it was too dark to positively confirm the person he saw was Patterson.
Grishkevich and other Weirton police officers then located two more chemical explosive devices outside of the city building, including one near the employee entrance and one under an unmarked police cruiser.
Witnesses referred to the explosives as "works bombs," because they are constructed in plastic soda bottles using brand name chemical products like "Drano" or "The Works."
Marshall stated that the bottle under the cruiser was open without any indication of having exploded; he theorized that the seal wasn't tight enough on the 1-liter bottle. He said the other two bottles, which also contained nails with the chemical mixtures, appeared to be "swelling" when they were found. He shot them one at a time in order to defuse the bombs, and he said this took place less than half an hour after they were uncovered.
The explosives were later picked up by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, whose investigation is ongoing.
Another witness, Ashley Burdine, was unable to be reached to be served with a subpoena; however, White allowed Grishkevich to paraphrase what Burdine had initially said. Grishkevich said Burdine claimed to have seen Patterson sweaty and out of breath the night of May 5 when she returned from the store. She also allegedly claimed that Patterson spoke about cops coming after him.
Patterson went to the police department to be interviewed willingly with Grishkevich when he was first approached by police. There, Grishkevich said, he confessed, adding that he did not want to hurt Weirton police specifically. He had hoped to "get into a shoot-out with the FBI," Grishkevich recalled Patterson saying.
Risovich argued that Patterson was unsure of what he told police when he confessed, especially as a result of his high level of intoxication on the night of May 5. Risovich also pointed out that Burdine was the girlfriend of Kevin McNeely, Patterson's cousin. McNeely had a warrant out for his arrest at the time and has a reputation with city police, but officials in Weirton have not interviewed him in connection with the case, he said.
Patterson will face a grand jury at the Hancock County Circuit Court sometime in September. He currently remains in custody at the West Virginia Northern Regional Jail on $75,000 bond.