A man accused of placing three bombs around the Weirton Municipal Building in May had his preliminary hearing at the Hancock County Magistrate Court on Monday.
David Jared Patterson, 23, is charged with three counts of criminal use of an explosive device. Magistrate Court Judge Michael S. White determined there is probable cause in the case, which will now be considered by a grand jury.
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 May 21.
Photo by Shae Dalrymple
David Jared Patterson, left, and his attorney, Alex Risovich, appear for a preliminary hearing in the Hancock County Magistrate Court on Monday.
D'Angelo said at about 10:30 p.m. 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 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, according to D'Angelo's testimony. When he pursued the suspect, he found one of the weapons in front of the city building. D'Angelo said it was too dark to positively confirm that 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.
When aluminum is added to the mixture, a chemical reaction causes pressure to build until the contents explode.
Marshall said the bottle under the cruiser was open without any indication of having exploded; he theorized the seal wasn't tight enough on the 1-liter bottle. He said the other two bottles, which also contained nails in 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.
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.