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Beware the circumstantial case


A recent incident involving a pipe bomb in Columbia has produced no solid leads. The bomb was discovered near an area motel on August 17 by a customer of the motel. He found it in a vacant lot adjacent to the motel and he brought it into the lobby of the motel. Fortunately, it did not explode and the authorities, including the Mid-Missouri bomb squad arrived and safely disposed of the device.

The Columbia police sent the bomb to a federal crime lab for examination and the police are waiting on the results of the after-action report. The assistant Chief of Police noted that any motive for the bomb is just "speculation" and they do not know who placed the bomb in the vacant lot.


There have been a few bomb incidents in the area during the last year. One incident was a false alarm and the other was part of a domestic disturbance.

Given the lack of clear evidence, if any charges are brought, they could be based largely circumstantial case. For any defendant charged with such crimes, it is important to demand your right to an attorney immediately and not to say anything to the police.

No matter if you are innocent or not, speaking with the police without the guidance of an attorney is always dangerous. Sometimes, an innocent party will become enmeshed in a prosecution, and they will naively believe that the police will eventually exonerate them and drop the charges against them after discover the "correct" suspect.

The danger for any suspect is that once an individual has become the focus of an investigation, the process tends to double-down on building the case against that individual, and other leads may be ignored.

By speaking freely with authorities in this circumstance, you may be inadvertently helping to build the case for the prosecution. There is a reason why the first words of the Miranda warning are often phrased as, "You have the right to remain silent." Use that right and remain silent.

Source: columbiadailytribune.com, "Questions remain in bomb investigation," Alan Burdziak, August 28, 2015 

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