Verdict: Not guilty by reason of insanity

JANELLE PATTERSON The Marietta Times Daniel Buchman, right, appears with his attorney George Cosenza in Washington County Common Pleas Court Wednesday for a bench trial.

A verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity was handed down Wednesday for the Marietta man accused of building a bomb that ended up in the Marietta Municipal Court building.

But Daniel Lindsey Buchman, 34, of 106 Sunset Drive, remains in the custody of Appalachian Behavioral Health Center in Athens as he awaits additional evaluation for care needed to maintain public safety.

He faced three felony counts, illegal manufacture of explosives, a second-degree felony, and two fifth-degree felony counts of unlawful possession of a dangerous ordinance.

Buchman reportedly manufactured several explosives in December 2016, one of which ended up in the Marietta Municipal Court building on Dec. 15.

“I want it to be clear, he never brought a bomb to or in the courthouse,” said Buchman’s attorney, George Cosenza, following the bench trial held before Washington County Common Pleas Judge Mark Kerenyi Wednesday.

The bomb that was found in the building was brought in the night before when Buchman was held by a probation officer for erratic behavior. Officials believed he was intoxicated, which would have been a violation of Buchman’s probation. A probation officer placed Buchman’s backpack in storage and only realized the next morning during a search that it contained an explosive. The court has since changed its procedures and checks items before they come into the building.

For more than a year, Buchman was deemed not competent to stand trial after the bomb scare which left the municipal court emptied for the day, his family’s home raided by law enforcement and required the use of a bomb-sniffing K-9 from Parkersburg and the Columbus Bomb Squad.

He was initially found not competent to stand trial in July 2017, and only in May this year was he restored to competency after mandated inpatient care at Appalachian Behavioral.

On Wednesday Kerenyi reviewed the report of the Forensic Diagnostic Center of District Nine concerning Buchman, before accepting the not guilty plea.

In that report, and the evidence submitted by the Marietta Police Department, a more clear picture of Buchman’s mental state at the time was provided to the court.

The report answers the legal question: at the time of the offense, did the defendant have a severe mental disease or defect, and if so, did this mental disease or defect result in him not knowing the wrongfulness of his actions?

“Concerning the question of severe mental disease or defect, it is my opinion, that the defendant had a severe mental disease, but did not have a severe mental defect,” penned Dr. Jaime Adkins, of the center. “Concerning the question about ability to know the wrongfulness of his actions, it is my opinion, with a reasonable degree of psychological certainty, that the defendant did not have knowledge of wrongfulness.”

But the report also explains what may have led Buchman to make the explosives.

When he was admitted to Appalachian Behavioral he was diagnosed as paranoid delusional, later with prescribed psychotropic medication, his diagnosis changed to unspecified psychotic disorder and unspecified anxiety.

Buchman self-reported a history of panic attacks and said he continues to deal with issues of anxiety. He also self-reported that he was being treated medically for seizures and pain for Klippel Feil Syndrome, a congenital, musculoskeletal condition characterized by the fusion of at least two vertebrae of the neck. Common treatments for the syndrome include physical therapy, surgery and/or constriction of the neck as seen by the brace on Buchman in all of his court appearances.

The report speculates that Buchman may have been self-medicating with marijuana and that he claimed to be using shots of epinephrine to “help” with his leg.

“While this does complicate the matter as his presentation could have been partly due to use of substances, it is my professional opinion that his symptoms were also attributable to a severe mental disease,” wrote Adkins. “This is supported by his continued presentation of symptoms for a significant amount to time following the offense and supposed last use of substances… Although the use of substances can have an impact on someone’s mental state, the use of Cannabis is not known to have these type of lingering effects such a lengthy time after use.”

Adkins also concluded that Buchman did not know the wrongfulness of creating explosives, based on evidence of an acute psychotic state and exhibition of delusional thinking.

“He believed that he was being watched by the FBI and that someone was breaking into his home to steal his fish one by one,” the report continues.

According to Marietta Police reports an Arizona Tea can was the casing of a bomb, wrapped in camo duct tape.

“Sticking out of the top of the can was what appeared to be a fuse, approximately five inches in length,” wrote Sgt. Len Ritchie in his account. “(There) was a clear Ziploc baggie that had black electrical tape wrapped around it. The baggie contained numerous m-80’s (bullets) taped together… several electrical components that had wire stripped from them and some type of switch.”

The tea can was X-rayed and found to contain an inner canister filled with various shrapnel items, Ritchie described.

“Wires surrounded by gunpowder and placed inside the Arizona Tea can and packed with BBs, 22-caliber rounds and steel wool and a fuse out of the top of the can,” he wrote.

The Columbus Bomb Squad commander explained to Ritchie that before them was a “very serious explosive device” which was made by an individual that “had some knowledge of creating this type of device.”

“One of the bomb techs stated that it looked like a menu right out of the ‘Anarchist Cook Book’ (and) these are the exact same items that these books would recommend in making a bomb,” Ritchie said in his report.

Multiple explosives were also found in Buchman’s home as was a diary which was taken into evidence.

An entry dated Dec. 14, 2016 includes racial slurs and explicit language with the comments “was going to smoke bomb them but they ran away” and that he would get them next time.

Buchman reported to Adkins that the bombs were to eradicate a groundhog supposedly living beneath his home.

“However according to collateral records he had made reference to the police monitoring his phone and ‘bugging’ his home and said he would ‘have a surprise’ for them ‘when they come,'” Adkins wrote. “While it is possible that the defendant had some understanding of the legal wrongfulness of his action, it is my professional opinion that he was acting in a protective manner due to his paranoid and delusional beliefs that the FBI was after him.”

Washington County Prosecutor Kevin Rings said following the verdict Wednesday that Kerenyi still has the power to hold Buchman for up to eight years at the Appalachian Behavioral Health Center in relation to the maximum sentence available had Buchman been convicted of the second-degree felony.

“There are different levels of treatment, the next evaluation should tell us what’s best not only for Mr. Buchman, but also public safety,” said Rings.

Buchman will next appear before Kerenyi on Oct. 1 for a disposition hearing.

What’s next:

¯ Daniel Lindsey Buchman, 34, of 106 Sunset Drive, remains in the custody of Appalachian Behavioral Health Center in Athens as he awaits additional evaluation for care needed to maintain public safety.

¯ Buchman will next appear before Washington County Common Pleas Judge Mark Kerenyi on Oct. 1 for a disposition hearing.

Source: Washington County Common Pleas Court.