An airman at Scott Air Force Base admitted in federal court here Wednesday that he possessed three illegal pipe bombs at his home in Shiloh, but there was no explanation at the hearing of why.
Previously filed charging documents claim that Justin VanGilder told an unnamed visitor to his home that he was suicidal and had fantasies of killing child molesters.
VanGilder, 24, of Twin Oaks Drive, acknowledged in court that he had two bombs with plastic casings and one made of metal. All were packed with smokeless powder, bird shot and nails, and equipped with fuses, his plea documents say. He pleaded guilty to three charges of possessing unregistered destructive devices, and could face up to 10 years in prison on each when sentenced Aug 1. Federal sentencing guidelines are likely to call for much less time, however.
The plea documents offer no new information about a motive, and the U.S. attorney’s office declined comment.
VanGilder was arrested Oct. 3 after the visitor contacted authorities. Court documents claim VanGilder told the visitor he had assembled personal information about area molesters and the explosives were intended to “inflict as many casualties as possible.” VanGilder showed the visitor a bag of shotgun shells, propane cylinders and a bag containing razors, screws and shrapnel.
VanGilder’s attorneys asked for a mental evaluation shortly after his arrest, and he was found competent to stand trial. Wearing a tan jail jumpsuit and shackled at the wrists and ankles Wednesday, VanGilder told U.S. District Judge Michael Reagan that he was taking prescription medications to treat post-traumatic stress syndrome and depression.
In an email, Scott spokeswoman Karen Petitt said VanGilder was currently on “no-pay status,” adding that the Air Force “is currently proceeding with separating him from the Air Force under ‘other than honorable’ conditions.” ..Source.. by Robert Patrick