In federal court today, former San Francisco politico and alleged bomb-making/toxin-ordering suspect Ryan Kelly Chamberlain II pled not guilty to one felony charge of possession of an unregistered destructive device and a new felony charge of possession of firearm with the serial number filed off.
At this morning's hearing, U.S. District Court Judge Nathanael Cousins denied Chamberlain's request to be released on his on recognizance, primarily because federal prosecutor Philip Kearney delivered what SFWeekly called, "a harrowing, 10-minute soliloquy regarding ricin, bombs, and menacing Google search terms" while arguing that Chamberlain was a possible threat and a likely flight risk.
According to Kearney, in addition to the abrin and pure nicotine that Chamberlain allegedly purchased online through a dark web site called Black Market Reloaded, investigators also found 20 to 40 castor beans in his apartment. Castor beans, in case you missed that season of Breaking Bad, are used in making the deadly toxin ricin.
Although he was connected to three separate, deadly toxins Chamberlain has not been charged with any crimes relating to the poisons. He did, however, did receive a second felony charge for possession of a small .22-caliber handgun found with the serial number filed off. Chamberlain's defense attorney Jodi Linker argued that the weapon was "almost novelty sized," the Weekly reports, "like the sort of thing you'd take to a party."
As for the bomb found in a messenger bag inside Chamberlain's Russian Hill apartment, the device was "fully formed" according to federal prosecutor Kearney. Pieces of the explosive device were assembled inside a glass jar packed with shrapnel and about half a pound of "pyrotechnic energetic material" — that green powder previously described by investigators. Although Chamberlain's public defender has been making a case that her client was suicidal and in need of psychiatric help, Kearney argued that the bomb would have been a very messy way to commit suicide.
That bomb, however, has since been destroyed by the feds, which gave Linker a little room to argue that there was "no evidence of any intention to in fact do harm to anyone." When asked by Judge Cousins what a "non-violent use of a bomb might be," Linker simply responded that Chamberlain "might be really into electronics."
While that's certainly a possibility, if an unlikely one, Chamberlain's recent search history on his iPhone and iPad were a little darker than your usual hobbyist's. Although the FBI says their investigators in Virginia are still pulling data off his electronics, they've already turned up search terms like "WMD, ricin, poison, arsenic, chloroform, homicide, killing, untraceable, suicide" and a search for "Uncle Fester," the nom de plume of an author who writes how-to guides for cooking crystal meth, LSD, nerve gases and homemade bombs, among other things.
The two felony charges could result in 10- and 5-year prison sentences for Chamberlain if convicted. Chamberlain remains in custody and will be back in court on Thursday. His trial begins next month on July 21st.
Previously: FBI: Ryan Chamberlain Bought Lethal Toxins Online
Ryan Chamberlain Ordered To Get Psych Evaluation, Friends Raise $11,000 For Legal Defense
FBI Documents: Ryan Chamberlain Had All The Pieces Of A Remote-Detonated Bomb