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Disneyland employee could get prison time over explosions

Christian Barnes enters a not-guilty plea to possessing a destructive device in a public place. Barnes could face up to six years in prison.

May 30, 2013|By Andrew Blankstein and Mike Anton, Los Angeles Times
  • Christian Barnes has entered a not-guilty plea to one count of possessing a destructive device in a public place.
Christian Barnes has entered a not-guilty plea to one count of possessing… (Anaheim Police Department )

A 22-year-old Disneyland employee faces the possibility of six years in state prison after Orange County prosecutors Thursday charged him in connection with two explosions that forced a partial evacuation of the Anaheim amusement park.

Christian Barnes, who appeared in Orange County Superior Court via a closed-circuit video, entered a not-guilty plea to one count of possessing a destructive device in a public place.

The Long Beach man is being held in lieu of $500,000 bail, half the amount he was held on when he was first booked by Anaheim police investigators.

The Orange County district attorney's office accused the Disney "cast member" of using dry ice to create an explosive device.

The initial explosion took place about 4 p.m. Tuesday just outside Toontown as Barnes was wrapping up his shift and a colleague was taking over the vending cart that offered guests drinks.

Several minutes later, authorities said, Barnes took a second water bottle from the cart and walked toward the employee break room.

While passing through Toontown, they said, Barnes allegedly placed a second water bottle with dry ice in a trash can before leaving the area. It later exploded, police said.

No one was seriously hurt in either blast and there was no damage reported. But the explosions caused anxious moments in Toontown, which features child-oriented attractions like Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin and Goofy's Playhouse. Some park guests also complained of ringing in their ears.

Authorities have not commented on a possible motive in the case, including whether Barnes allegedly placed dry ice in a plastic bottle as some sort of a prank.

Anaheim Police Sgt. Bob Dunn said after the arrest Wednesday morning that Barnes "is cooperating with investigators and has indicated this is an isolated incident with unanticipated impacts."

Several family members were on hand for Barnes' arraignment, but only his grandmother would talk with reporters.

"He's the nicest person I know," said Flora Barnes. "He's a wonderful kid. He's a kid who wouldn't hurt anyone."

andrew.blankstein@latimes.com

mike.anton@latimes.com

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