Russian-born man still jailed in bomb case
JOHNSTOWN — A federal judge has reversed himself and decided a Russian-born college student accused of building bombs in his central Pennsylvania apartment will remain jailed until trial.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Kim Gibson last month said he was inclined to release 18-year-old Vladislav Miftakhov, a Penn State-Altoona student jailed since his Jan. 24 arrest, while his case moved forward.
But federal prosecutors appealed and Gibson changed his mind in an opinion Friday, a day after hearing testimony that Miftakhov was on juvenile court probation for a minor charge out of California when he allegedly possessed the bomb-making materials at his off-campus apartment.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles Eberle had argued that Miftakhov had smoked and grown marijuana in his apartment about 85 miles east of Pittsburgh, in addition to making the explosives.
In his earlier ruling, Gibson said it was apparent that Miftakhov set off explosions for kicks and didn't intend to harm anyone. But he changed his mind about releasing Miftakhov on bond after learning about the California probation, which grew out of a trespassing charge that his friend's parents pursued when they found Miftakhov attended a party at their San Carlos home while they were out of town.
The “informal probation” imposed on Miftakhov by the California juvenile court is similar to accelerated rehabilitative disposition in Pennsylvania, which enables a person to have their arrest record expunged if they complete a short probation term without incident, the (Altoona) Mirror reported Saturday.
As a result, Gibson found “Miftakhov has shown a pattern of unlawful behavior and that he has shown an unwillingness to comply with the terms of his probation in California.”
According to the federal charges, Miftakhov ordered potassium perchlorate and magnesium online, then mixed the chemicals and put them into empty metal cartridges that were made to hold pressurized carbon dioxide.
Altoona police arrested Miftakhov after finding those materials, as well as marijuana plants, after a tip from his landlord. Federal authorities took over the case last month.
Miftakhov's public defender Christopher Brown has argued Miftakhov made the devices so he could blow them up in a field near his apartment, not to harm people or property.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Bill that would end district-level review of homeschooling in Pennsylvania goes to Corbett
- Federal grand jury reviewing Liquor Control Board violations, sources tell Trib
- Eric Frein lookalike: I keep getting stopped
- Pa. town can keep Jim Thorpe’s body
- AP classes put college-bound students on fast track
- Attorneys want ‘Kids for Cash’ figure’s windfall frozen
- Justice blames feud for his ouster; chief of court admits he did seek to remove him
- Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission urged to strengthen ethics training