Anson Chi, Accused of Trying to Blow Up a Plano Gas Main, Faces Even More Charges
Last summer brought us the story of Anson Chi, a Plano man who's accused of trying to detonate a bomb next to a gas main on West Park Road. The bomb did go off, perhaps earlier than Chi was hoping; police believe it detonated while he was "tampering" with the gas main, severely injuring Chi but only minorly injuring the line.
Chi left behind a pretty substantial trail of fairly unhinged anti-government YouTube videos and Facebook posts, plus a really, really bad novel. In June, he was indicted on one federal charge of possessing "a destructive device manufactured through the use of chemicals and a combination of parts intended for use in a readily assembled explosive." Now, court records show, he was re-indicted on two additional charges. On Valentine's Day.
Chi has been locked up since his arrest, with Federal Judge Amos L. Mazzant writing in his detention order that, among other things, Chi's possession of books "instructing him on how to make bombs" and his expressed wish to be "an actual activist" instead of an "armchair activist" made him a bad candidate for pretrial release. Also, Mazzant added, "It appeared to the court that that Defendant's father was scared of Defendant."
Chi has also been awaiting a competency exam to determine if he's mentally fit to stand trial, with his lawyer writing in a request last year that her client possesses "a delusional mindset which prohibits him from understanding the nature and consequences of the proceedings against him."
In the meantime, the feds have added a count of malicious use of explosive materials, alleging that Chi "did maliciously damage and destroy" an Atmos pipeline "by means of fire and an explosive." He's also now being charged with "use or carrying a destructive device during a crime of violence," for knowingly carrying his homemade explosive.
Chi's trial date has been reset for March 4, pending the outcome of his competency exam. If served consecutively, his three charges could carry a potential prison sentence of 60 years.
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