A Houtzdale man charged with creating a pipe bomb in a Rush Township home was bound over on all charges Wednesday at the Centre County Courthouse.
Derek S. Stiffler, 26, was charged with a felony count of unlawful possession of weapons of mass destruction and a misdemeanor charge of reckless endangerment after state police reportedly recovered an explosive device from his residence during a firearms investigation.
Defense attorney Patrick Klena objected to initial testimony by a state police investigator, saying witnesses who were in the house should testify on their own, instead of having their accounts relayed by police, as they were present in the courtroom. He also questioned the decision to bring charges based solely on witness statements when the police reportedly had surveillance footage from inside the house showing his client with the device.
One witness agreed to testify, but gave conflicting statements about what he allegedly saw when it came to the defendant and the device, saying he never saw Stiffler with the pipe bomb and didn’t know if it actually belonged to him. He later clarified that he never physically saw Stiffler creating the device after being reminded of his statement to police by Assistant District Attorney Lindsay Foster.
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The witness eventually did testify that he had seen Stiffler carrying the device on the second floor of the house.
A state police explosives team member said the explosive material in the device consisted of a pyrotechnic powder, similar to that found in fireworks. He could not testify to the potential explosive power of the device.
The case moves toward trial.