YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

U.S.: Alleged Mail Bomber Is Delusional

September 02, 2004|From Associated Press

ROCHESTER, Minn. — A man accused in a Midwestern mailbox bombing spree is delusional and should not be freed because he's too great a risk to society, a government psychologist testified Wednesday.

Dr. Andrew Simcox said Lucas Helder, 23, believed he vibrated at a certain pitch and could fly out of his body, and that physical death was insignificant because it just moved people to a higher plane of consciousness.

Helder earlier was declared incompetent to stand trial on charges that he planted pipe bombs and antigovernment notes in rural mailboxes in Iowa and four other states in May 2002.

Several bombs exploded, injuring four postal workers and two Iowa women, and the explosions shut down mail delivery in several rural Midwestern communities.

On Wednesday, a U.S. magistrate heard arguments at the Federal Medical Center in Rochester on whether Helder was so likely to hurt others that he should be committed indefinitely for mental health treatment. The magistrate did not immediately make a recommendation.

Simcox, a psychologist at the medical center, testified that Helder talked of a "worldwide ascension" in the year 2011 that would be akin to Heaven on Earth, and believed he could bring about such an ascension earlier by making people aware of it.

After his capture, authorities said Helder claimed he selected mailboxes in areas across the Midwest to form a pattern of a smiley face.

Simcox said medical health professionals on both sides of the case agreed that Helder had schizo-affective disorder, a claim that defense attorneys did not dispute Wednesday.

Helder, of Pine Island, sat quietly at the defense table during Wednesday's hearing, speaking only to his attorney from time to time.

Los Angeles Times Articles