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SF bomb possession suspect appears in court

By Nathan Salant     Jul 23, 2014 in Crime
San Francisco - A San Francisco political consultant — arrested last month after alleged chemical bomb-making materials were found in his residence in the city's tony Nob Hill district — could be released on bail to seek psychological treatment in a hospital.
Ryan Kelly Chamberlain II may not be getting the mental health help he needs in San Francisco County Jail in San Bruno, US Judge Vince Chhabria said Monday after hearing arguments at the federal courthouse in San Francisco.
Chamberlain, 42, a well-regarded consultant to local political campaigns, has been held without bail since he was found June 2 near the Golden Gate Bridge, two days after the discovery of the alleged materials in a search of his apartment.
At a hearing in federal court in San Francisco, US Judge Vince Chhabria reserved judgment on whether he would release Chamberlain to a hospital pending a review of secure facilities, according to the local CBS news affiliate.
"This is someone in need of some care that he may not be getting where he is currently housed," Chhabria said.
"What matters is if there’s any assurance that defendant is unable to pursue what he was pursuing before,” the judge said.
A ruling will be issued in writing at a later date, Chhabria said.
The case came before Chhabria following Chamberlain's appeal of magistrate's ruling that he be held without bail because he was a danger to the public and a flight risk.
Chamberlain is charged with possessing an unregistered destructive device and with possession of a gun with the serial number removed.
Chamberlain was present in the courtroom Monday wearing orange jail clothing and was shackled around the ankles.
Federal prosecutor Philip Kearney, who called Chamberlain "very dangerous," also said Monday that he would seek to revise the indictment against Chamberlain after toxicology tests of materials taken from the apartment showed the presence of a biological toxin.
The toxin was not mentioned at Monday's hearing, but a legal brief filed Friday alleged that powder hidden in vials found inside two flashlights contained "the lethal toxin abrin."
Prosecutors contended that even small amounts of abrin were lethal to human beings when inhaled, ingested or injected, the newspaper said.
Chamberlain's attorney, Assistant Federal Public Defender Jodi Linker, said she had reports from two doctors concluding that he needed mental health treatment.
Linker said Chamberlain would be electronically monitored at all times if released to a hospital and would not be permitted to check out on his own, and suggested he be treated at Langley Porter Psychiatric Hospital of the University of California at San Francisco.
Linker said in legal papers filed last week that Chamberlain's mother from Iowa and uncles from Florida and Colorado have offered to put up their property as bond to secure his release.
Prosecutors say other materials found in Chamberlain’s apartment included a glass jar containing batteries, pyrotechnic powder and a rocket motor; ball bearings and screws that may have been intended as shrapnel; an ignition device; and a circuit board configured as a remote-controlled receiver, KCBS said.
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