In Hampshire Superior Court, a Massachusetts jury acquitted 19-year-old John Robison of charges that he set off explosives to intentionally cause injury or property damage. If convicted, the Amherst teen could have been sentenced to up to 20 years in prison. Formal charges against him included one count of setting off detonating devices close to property or people and three counts of malicious explosion.
In 2008, a vendor of laboratory equipment that became suspicious about an order the teenager placed contacted South Hadley police. The cops, who went to Robison’s home, spent three days evacuating volatile chemicals, including some of what they considered “high explosives,” from the residence. They worked with the FBI on safely removing the explosives. Neighbors were asked to temporarily evacuate their homes at this time.
Robison, who has had an interest in chemistry since he was a young boy, set of explosions at the town landfill, in his father’s home, and in the woods. He posted footage of these explosions on YouTube.
According to Robison’s criminal defense attorney, none of the footage showed any property damage, except for weeds getting scorched and dirt in the woods getting moved around. The teenager, who testified at his own trial, says that he was extremely cautious in making sure no one would get hurt by his experiments. He also says he would not allow people that he considered offensive or dangerous to log onto a Web site that he created to promote his experiments.
Robison’s Massachusetts defense lawyer has always maintained that no evidence ever existed to support the criminal charges against his client and that both the indictment and the criminal trial should never have happened. Unfortunately, indictments can be brought against you even when you are not guilty of committing a crime. The best defense is a proactive defense by Boston criminal defense attorneys that know how to protect you and your rights.
Mass. teen cleared or explosives charges, Boston.com, May 28, 2009
John Robison of Amherst found innocent of malicious explosion charges, MassLive.com, May 27, 2009