UC Davis Chemist Who Blew Up His Apartment Pleads No Contest To 17 Felonies
Described by his lawyer as “a tinkerer,” a former UC Davis affiliated chemist who blew up volatile explosives in his on-campus apartment, triggering a mass evacuation of the north campus apartment complex, pleaded no contest to felony charges in Yolo Superior Court on September 12.
David Snyder, 33, had been concocting explosive materials in his home laboratory at the densely populated Russell Park apartments on January 27, 2013, when he injured his hand after they blew up. After the explosion, Snyder drove himself to nearby Sutter Health Hospital in West Davis. Staff who treated him deemed his injury suspicious and called Davis police.
Davis police investigators responded to the crime scene at Snyder’s home laboratory and discovered numerous dangerous materials, including nitro glycerin as well as triacetone triperoxide (TATP) and hexamethylene triperoxide diamine (HMTD), which bomb experts explained could be used to manufacture dangerous explosives.
Law enforcement officials along with the bomb experts spent 20 hours searching Snyder’s home laboratory and removing the explosive materials they found. Residents of the apartment complex had to be evacuated for the duration.
Snyder pleaded no contest to charges of reckless disposal of hazardous waste, possession of an explosive device, possession of materials with intent to make an explosive device, and possession of firearms on a university campus — 17 felony counts in all. Standing beside defense counsel Linda Parisi, Snyder responded “No Contest,” as each charge was read aloud in court.
Yolo County Superior Court Judge Stephen Mock accepted the plea agreement, which has the same legal force as a guilty plea, but declined to announce what Snyder’s sentence might be. Instead, he scheduled a sentencing hearing on October 17.
Parisi said, “He is a very bright young mind committed to making social contributions. His work at the university has been exemplary. Hopefully his skill and his ability will transcend what’s happened with the charges.”
Snyder remains free on bail.
CrimeVoice (2013): Explosives Expert’s Accomplice May Be Charged in UC Davis Blast