There is still no date set for the federal trial of accused bomb-builder and potential domestic terrorist Ryan Kelly Chamberlain II, but he appeared in court Monday while his public defender once again pressed a judge to allow her client to receive mental health treatment during the pre-trial phase. An earlier ruling by a federal magistrate determined that Chamberlain was too great a danger to others, and a flight risk, not to remain in federal custody.
As CBS reports, Chamberlain's attorney had two reports from doctors, which have not yet been released to prosecutors, stating that Chamberlain urgently needs mental health treatment and should be released to a facility, like UCSF's Langley Porter Psychiatric Hospital, on bail. Both Chamberlain's mother and two uncles have offered to put up their property for a bail bond.
The judge in Monday's hearing, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria who will also serve as the judge in Chamberlain's ultimate trial said that Chamberlain's defense had "credibly argued that this is someone in need of some care that he may not be getting where he is currently housed." But he remained concerned whether "there’s any assurance that the defendant is unable to pursue what he was pursuing before."
Chhabria deferred ruling on granting bail, saying he would issue a ruling in writing. Another hearing would still be required before Chamberlain's release, in which the defense would present security measures that would be in place at the mental health facility in question.
Chamberlain stands accused of one count of possessing an unregistered destructive device, and one count of possessing a .22 caliber handgun with the serial number removed, and prosecutors are expecting a revised indictment that would include a third charge related to the reported vials of the deadly toxin abrin found in his apartment on May 31.
Earlier details that emerged in Chamberlain's indictment and initial federal court hearing, added to Chamberlain's store of weapons, included vials of pure nicotine (purchased, presumably along with the abrin, on the Silk Road-replacement website Black Market Reloaded), and 20 to 40 castor beans which, as shown on Breaking Bad, can be used to make the deadly toxin ricin.
Chamberlain was arrested in San Francisco on June 2, after a two-day manhunt and after he had posted what looked like a suicide note online. FBI investigators tracking sellers of illegal materials on black-market sites had found that Chamberlain had sought out toxins from multiple dealers, and upon raiding his apartment on May 31 discovered that he had built a fully functional, improvised explosive device using a glass jar, robot motor, and shrapnel. It has not yet been revealed what or who his target might have been for the bomb.
A crowdfunding campaign by Chamberlain's friends and colleagues managed to raise $11,000 of a $30,000 target for his legal defense.
And, in case you missed it and want some more background on who Chamberlain was in the context of S.F. politics, check out Joe Eskanazi's in-depth long-read from SF Weekly two weeks ago.
Update: The judge quickly decided to deny the defense's motion, saying that "There is no basis for concluding that his placement in such a [mental health] facility (whose security safeguards are unknown and whose power to hold patients against their will is extremely limited) would protect the community from the danger Chamberlain would otherwise pose." [Chron]