Crime, Fire + Courts

Trial ordered in UCD explosives case

By From page A1 | October 06, 2013

WOODLAND — A Yolo Superior Court judge ruled Friday there is sufficient evidence for a former UC Davis chemistry researcher to stand trial on charges stemming from the discovery of explosives-making materials and guns inside his campus apartment.

David Scott Snyder, 33, is due back in Judge David Reed’s courtroom Nov. 1 for arraignment and setting of a trial date.

The UCD graduate has previously pleaded not guilty to 17 felonies including reckless disposal of hazardous waste, possession of a destructive device or explosive, possession of materials with intent to make a destructive device, and possession of a firearm on university grounds.

Friday’s ruling marked the end of a preliminary hearing that began on July 26, when investigators from the UCD and West Sacramento police departments offered testimony about the volatile chemicals found in Snyder’s Russell Park apartment back on Jan. 17.

Earlier that day, Snyder arrived at Sutter Davis Hospital with an injury to his left hand that police said was caused by an accidental explosion inside his apartment.

A subsequent 20-hour chemical removal effort revealed the presence of the explosives triacetone triperoxide (TATP), hexamethylene triperoxide diamine (HMTD), nitroglycerin, ammonium nitrate aluminum powder and the ingredients for making black powder, testified Jason Winger, a West Sacramento police sergeant and Yolo County Bomb Squad member.

On Friday, Winger acknowledged under questioning by defense attorney Linda Parisi that most if not all the chemicals found in Snyder’s apartment were in small amounts, but added that “it is never safe to manufacture explosives or other illegal substances in that environment.”

Authorities said some of the explosive-making materials had been moved at Snyder’s request by a friend, Tashari El-Sheikh, who later led investigators to dump sites at two West Davis apartment complexes, at the Save Mart shopping center on Anderson Road, and within the Russell Park complex.

UCD investigators said El-Sheikh also admitted to moving several firearms from Snyder’s bed to a nearby gun safe, which also contained several knives and a large amount of ammunition.

The Yolo County District Attorney’s Office announced in August it would be seeking a warrant charging El-Sheikh with accessory to a felony, but El-Sheikh has been out of the country with no known return date, prosecutors said.

Snyder, meanwhile, remains free on a $2 million bail bond while his case is pending.

— Reach Lauren Keene at [email protected] or 530-747-8048. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene

Lauren Keene

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