A judge on Friday sentenced the Hutchinson college student convicted of aggravated arson for starting a fire while conducting chemical experiments in his Plaza Towers apartment to serve more than five years in prison.
District Judge Trish Rose denied a defense motion to grant Chase Coble probation in the case, or to cut his sentence to just four years, stating the grounds the defense offered were insufficient to grant a sentencing departure.In case you were wondering, he was hit with the charge of aggravated arson because the apartment building he was doing the experiment in was occupied. It's interesting to read the affidavit from the local police department and their concerns about what he was up to (from another Hutchinson News article):
Among chemicals in the apartment were bags of ammonia, potassium permanganate, saltpeter, sulfur, sodium EDTA, toluene, bleach, methyl ethyl ketone, acetone, camping fuel, vinegar, charcoal, and muriatic, hydrochloric and sulfuric acid.
All those items, ATF Agent Neal Tierney, a certified explosives specialist, advised investigators, can be used to make homemade explosives.(A bag of ammonia?) Bizarrely, the student was doing some kind of research project:
“He said he was trying to bond metal and plastic components to create a new type of metallic/plastic material for conductivity in computer components,” the affidavit stated.What a strange story. It's a shame that he could not have found his way to a local research university laboratory rather than risking life and property running experiments in his apartment.
(Surely home chemists on the interwebz have some advice as to how to avoid Mr. Coble's fate and still conduct chemical experiments in their residence?)