Saturday, November 3, 2007

Ronald Swerlein, Amateur Rocket Scientist, To Be Arraigned December 18th On Explosives Charges

For the first time in four months, there's news about Ronald Swerlein of Longmont, Colorado [on the right in this photo], whose case we discussed quite a bit during the summer.

Swerlein, as regular readers of this page may remember, is free on bail after police raided his home in June and seized several firearms as well as a wide variety of explosive chemicals, some of which Swerlein had made himself. His neighbors had become suspicious after a series of explosions in the Swerlein garage. Swerlein, a former electrical engineer, claims he was interested in rocketry and trying to develop new high-performance rocket fuels.

Swerlein's explanation appeared bizarre at first, and it was portrayed as even more bizarre by the Longmont police and the local media. But the more I dug into it, the more sense it made. So I've been keeping a close eye on this case, in which there has been no new news since July...

... until now. Here's the news, from the Boulder Daily Camera:

Accused chemical hoarder's hearing postponed
An attorney for a man accused of having a dangerous cache of chemicals in his home asked a Boulder County District Court judge Friday for more time to read through 2,000 new pages of discovery.

Ronald Swerlein, 50, is charged with 10 felonies after police say they found more than 400 chemicals in his home at 2404 Sunset Drive [Longmont, Colorado] in June, including a half-pound of [nitroglycerine] the main ingredient in dynamite [which the police detonated in Swerlein's driveway].

Judge James Klein reset the arraignment hearing for Dec. 18.
So Ron Swerlein will be in court again -- or else his attorney, Jeffrey Larson, will be in court on his behalf -- a week before Christmas (unless the date is postponed before then). I'll be keeping my eyes open.

For a detailed look at this fascinating and largely unreported story, start here:

This Ain't Exactly Rocket Science ... Unless Of Course It Is!


sixth in a series