Guy using 100 pounds of tannerite to blow up dump truck faces charges

Jan 17 2008 RED WING, Minn.
A 30-year-old man from Welch Township has been charged with 3 felonies after a huge explosion on his property prompted authorities to put the Prairie Island nuclear plant a mile away on alert.

Prosecutors claim Childs bought 100 pounds of the explosive Tannerite off the Internet. The explosive was loaded into the rear end of a dump truck on Sunday and detonated by a .50-caliber rifle round.

Childs told investigators the explosion sent debris up to a quarter-mile away.

Goodhue County prosecutors on Wednesday charged Brian Wesley Childs with gross disregard for human life and several lesser charges. All told, he was charged with three felonies and five lesser counts.

Childs was released from jail without bail on Wednesday.

His attorney, Joseph M. Paiement of Lakeland, said on Thursday that he anticipated filing motions to dismiss the charges ahead of Childs' next hearing on Feb. 22.

"We intend to challenge, particularly, the felony charges," he said. "I think that was over-charged."

Paiement noted that no one was hurt in the incident, there was no allegation that Childs acted maliciously and no property was damaged _ except for the dump truck.

Paiement said he suspected prosecutors filed such serious charges because the explosion happened so close to the nuclear plant. "That clearly is behind a lot of this," he said.