Domestic terrorist? Police find bombs, bags of nails, razor blades and ball bearings.

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SHELTON, CT- After several weeks of police departments collaborating to locate a bomb manufacturing suspect within Connecticut, the search is finally over.

Police now have in custody a man whom they believe made several bombs, one of which detonated back in December.

The suspect, hailing from Franklin, Pennsylvania, was apprehended this past Tuesday within Shelton, Connecticut after agencies had made several attempts to locate the suspect after a disturbing discovery in early December.

Carl Michael Roberts is the man accused of making numerous homemade bombs in the Sugarcreek and Franklin area of Pennsylvania.

Thankfully, the alleged bomb manufacturer was apprehended in Connecticut after an intense search.

According to Police Chief Bob Wenner from the Sugarcreek Police Department, the 26-year-old from Franklin, Pennsylvania was taken into custody by officers from the Shelton Police Department located in Connecticut. There’s currently been no information released as to why the suspect made the move to the state, but speculation would determine it was a means to evade capture.

Chief Wenner spoke to a local news outlet, exploreVenango.com, and stated the following with regard to the current status of the suspect and the department in the adjacent state:

“We’ve been working back and forth with the police department in Shelton. We all kept it quiet, and they were able, with information we were getting from public, to discover where he was staying. He was then arrested without incident.”

According to Chief Wenner, Roberts is being arraigned on January 2, 2020 in Derby, Connecticut, and then arrangements will be made for him to be transferred back to Venango County in order to face the criminal charges within the state where the manhunt initially began.

The circumstances that led to the elaborate search for the suspect is nothing short of alarming.

Back on December 10th, police were executing a search warrant for possible controlled substances at 9 Crestview Drive in Franklin. When the officers were on the hunt for drugs within the address, they managed to find more than they bargained for upon discovering two explosive devices.

While reports never eluded to Roberts being the resident of the address at Crestview Drive, based upon the police immediately having a person of interest when finding the bombs while executing the warrant, it’s safe to say that Roberts likely was.

Considering the evolution of the search warrant for drugs turning into a potential bomb hazard, officials called in the State Police Bomb Unit, who removed the bombs located and brought them to a controlled area.

While the bomb unit was working to safely dismantle the explosives that they had found, one of them exploded, creating an enormous shockwave within the immediate area.

After the explosion of the bomb, the Sugarcreek Borough Police launched an investigation into these explosives and were able to identify the person who was behind their creation.

Considering that the individual was knowledgeable in crafting these fatal instruments, time was of the essence.

What made the matter even more imminent was that police had also found a bag with the larger explosive containing several razor blades, nails, and other pieces of metal whose only purpose would have been to be utilized as shrapnel with the explosive devices.

It was evident that these bombs were being made to cause as much damage and casualty as possible.

District Attorney Shawn White didn’t need much more detail after all the police had discovered at that point, and quickly put together a criminal complaint and filed and an arrest warrant for Roberts.

Aside from the December 10th discovery, Chief Wenner also stated that Roberts is suspected to be involved in the creation of another bomb that was discovered on December 6th at a home in Arbor Circle in Franklin.

The urgency of the matter prompted officers from the Sugarcreek Borough Police Department, Franklin Police Department, Oil City Police Department, Pennsylvania State Police, and Pennsylvania State Probation and Parole to try to locate Roberts, without luck.

Thankfully, the suspect was detained in the adjacent state of Connecticut, and whatever harm he had allegedly planned with the creation of those bombs won’t come to fruition.

In the meantime in Boston, we learned last month that the death penalty of one of the Boston Marathon bombers could be overturned.

Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is currently on 23-hour lockdown awaiting his death sentence.

Well, that death sentence may be obfuscated in the near future if a federal appeal overturns the sentence.

What we reported last month detailed an endeavor by Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s attorney to leverage information he might have regarding a grisly triple homicide at a Massachusetts residence in 2011 that was allegedly committed by Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Dzhokhar brother.

Well, this federal appeal isn’t about potential information on an unsolved murder; this pertains to claims of a biased jury.

So, what kind of tainting of the jury are we looking at exactly?

Well, Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev could avoid the death penalty if a federal court overturns the conviction on account of a couple of jurors’ pre-trial social media posts indicating that they may have been biased.

An Obama appointee on the First Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Boston, Judge William Kayatta, had a long conversation with prosecutors this past Thursday, during which he sounded skeptical about the inclusion of two jurors in the trial.

Apparently, the judge relayed the following sentiments:

“You’ve got lots of qualifiable jurors in Boston. You just need to make sure the government doesn’t cause the court to pick the wrong ones. That’s what it sounds like you did.”

The judge likely got the notion from none other than Dzhokhar Tsarnaev defense, who claimed that the trial wasn’t fair for a number of reasons, but cited a tainted jury due to them having knowledge and predisposed thoughts on the case.

The lawyers argued that two jurors lied about their knowledge of the case, citing a tweet posted by one juror saying:

“Congratulations to all of the law enforcement professionals who worked so hard and went through hell to bring in that piece of garbage.”

One juror had a Facebook post where he was advised by his buddies to “play the part” in order to get into the trial and convict Tsarnaev.

Of course, Tsarnaev’s lawyers asked that these two jurors be excused from the trial before it began, but prosecutors said they didn’t show any bias.

Judge George O’Toole, who was presiding, had agreed as well. Still, even if there was minute bias or knowledge, it’s somewhat immaterial. You can’t have a completely unaware jury in a national headline case.

On top of the notion that the jury was tainted, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev also mentioned that the case should never have been tried in Boston to begin with. In a legal brief filed by Dzhokhar Tsarnaev attorney, it stated:

“This case should not have been tried in Boston. Tsarnaev admitted heinous crimes, but even so – perhaps especially so — this trial demanded scrupulous adherence to the requirements of the Constitution and federal law. Again and again, this trial fell short.”

Three people died and 260 more were wounded during the assault carried out by Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan on April 15, 2013.

The attorneys have argued that O’Toole did not allow them to provide proof that Tsarnaev’s brother Tamerlan executed a triple murder in 2011.

Yet, while that aspect of a triple murder could have detailed insight into previous criminality from one of the deceased bombers, it honestly didn’t bear any relevance to the terror attack carried out in 2013.

Tsarnaev’s lawyers admitted his involvement in the bombing during his trial and argued for a life sentence rather than the death penalty. They argued that the attack was orchestrated by Tamerlan and that he was responsible primarily for it.

Prosecutors disagreed, and said that Tsarnaev had been rightly convicted and sentenced, and the trial has been fair:

“Tsarnaev received a fair trial in Boston, and the district court did not abuse its discretion by refusing to move the trial elsewhere. The jurors who tried and sentenced Tsarnaev were unbiased.”

As it stands, if the sentence is overturned, the prosecution may allow Tsarnaev to accept a life sentence, or they could start a new death penalty trial.

If upheld, Tsarnaev’s lawyers could appeal their case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

While the legal team for an accused terrorist is obligated to offer the best defense, the legal team of a convicted terrorist trying to preserve an extremist is nothing short of disgustingly alarming.

As Michele McPhee previously reported for Law Enforcement Today, it was nearly seven years ago when Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was pulled from a bullet-scarred hull of a dry-docked boat in Watertown.

By then a little boy, Martin Richard, and two young women, Linzi Lu and Krystal Marie Campbell, were killed in two horrific blasts Tsarnaev detonated with his brother Tamerlan near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
 

Domestic terrorist?  Police find bombs, bags of nails, razor blades and ball bearings.

 
 
MIT Police Officer Sean Collier was executed in cold blood by cowards and Transit Police Officer Dic Donohue was fighting for his life after being shot during a wild bomb and bullet battle between cops and the bombers in Watertown.
 
MIT Police Officer Sean Collier
MIT Police Officer Sean Collier Memorial
 
Another BPD Officer DJ Simmonds would die later of injuries he sustained during that firefight.
 
Tamerlan was shot 9 times by Watertown Police Sgt. Jeff Pugliesi and then run over and dragged to his death by his brother. Dzhokhar would be convicted April 8, 2015 and later sentenced to death.
 
Now Dzhokhar is being held in solitary confinement at ADX SuperMax spending 23 hours in his cell a day with one hour of solitary “yard time.” He has 50 channels of DirectTV piped into his cell, according to court records.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev flipping off the camera in his jail cell.
 
His lawyers are trying to keep Dzhokhar alive.
 
His taxpayer-funded defense points to the still unsolved murder of three young mixed martial arts fighters in Waltham committed, they and my sources say, by Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Ibragim Todashev on the ten-year anniversary of 9/11, as evidence that Dzhokhar was afraid of his brother.
 
Todashev was shot dead by a Boston FBI agent in the weeks after the marathon bombing — his last words a hand-written blood stained confession about the triple slaying he did with Tamerlan.
 
Officials do not believe the Tsarnaev brothers built the bombs but have not explained who did.
 
The survivors, among them 17 amputees, continue to overcome the physical and emotional pain inflicted that dark Patriots Day afternoon. First responders still grapple with the trauma.
 
And questions remain unanswered.
 
#BostonStrong
 
Editor Note: Michele McPhee is a three-time Emmy-nominated television investigative producer in Boston for ABC News Brian Ross Investigative Unit.  She broke the story about the FBI tie to the brothers.  Last year, she wrote a scathing piece demanding FBI accountability.  It’s as relevant today – if not more – as it was then.
 
Holding the FBI Accountable

All law enforcement should be held to the same standard of accountability when mistakes are made—including the FBI.

Remember when Gary Lee Sampson called the FBI from a pay phone in Abington to turn himself in for a slew of bank robberies in 2001? He waited several hours to be arrested. And no one showed up.

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Domestic terrorist?  Police find bombs, bags of nails, razor blades and ball bearings.

The next day he went on a killing spree. Now he’s on death row and three men are dead.

Remember when the FBI intercepted communications between Major Nidal Hassan and Al Qaeder leader Anwar Al-Awalki while Nidal was working as an Army psychologist?

But nothing happened. On November 5, 2009 Nidal went to work at his base in Fort Hood, Texas where he executed 13 soldiers and wounded another 30.

Americans trust

Or that time the FBI and the CIA got warnings about the Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2011 that he was communicating with dangerous radicals in Dagestan?

Tsarnaev was on two terror watch lists when he went to Dagestan in the months before the Boston Marathon bombings to talk to those radicals in person.

When Tsarnaev “beat feet” as one Congressman described it out of Russia in July 2012 no one stopped him from reentry into the US via Boston despite the terror listings.

Within weeks the FBI told immigration officials that they saw no problem that should prevent Tsarnaev from being naturalized [despite a 2009 arrest for slapping his then girlfriend that made him ineligible].

Tamerlan and his brother, Dzhokhar, who was a citizen, unleashed the Boston Marathon attack four months later, killing four people, wounding 260 others, among the critically injured 17 amputees.

As Omar Mateen opened fire at the Pulse nightclub he gave his “homeboy” Tamerlan Tsarnaev a “shout out” in a call to a Florida dispatcher.

He had been under FBI surveillance twice and a gun store owner had called the FBI about the startling amount of ammo he purchased weeks before the June 2016 slaughter of 49 people. Despite those warnings, the club became a bloodbath and it was the responding officers who were questioned about THEIR response.

Then there was Esteban Santiago who walked into a FBI field office in Alaska making erratic statements about ISIS in Nov. 2016. He got on a plane with a gun in his checked luggage and opened fire the following year, killing 5 and wounding 8.

The FBI does amazing work everyday – the current MS13 federal prosecutions, the largest number of the deadly gang members facing trials in the nation, are a fantastic example of their dedication – but when mistakes along the mahogany rows of the FBI lead to bloodshed there needs to be accountability, like the punishments doled out to rank and file law enforcement who make mistakes on the job.


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