Dressed in a dark green jail uniform, alleged Glen Burnie bomb-maker Todd Dwight Wheeler Jr. made a brief appearance in court Friday as the case against him gets under way.
During a session in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court, Wheeler's attorney and the prosecutor agreed to postpone a status conference in the case for two weeks. The actual trial is tentatively set for May on charges that Wheeler built a dozen homemade bombs in his Glen Burnie rancher.
Wheeler did not speak during the brief hearing before Judge Michele D. Jaklitsch. He has been held at the Jennifer Road Detention Center since he was arrested Jan. 3.
Police and fire investigators became aware of Wheeler after he suffered blast injury to his left hand on New Year's Day. A subsequent search of his home in the Harundale neighborhood turned up a dozen homemade improvised explosive devices made from cardboard tubes, ink pens, plastic containers, a metal container and a prescription bottle, according to charging documents.
Some of the devices had "foreign objects" placed inside "which would create projectiles capable of seriously injuring or killing other people," according to charging documents.
Investigators also found explosive chemicals stored in mason jars, an Argentina FMK submachine gun, bomb-making manuals and hundreds of needles scattered throughout the house, according to charging documents.
Wheeler faces more than two dozen charges in Anne Arundel County between two cases: 18 counts of possessing or manufacturing a destructive device, three counts of possession of explosives, reckless endangerment, possession of a machine gun for an aggressive purpose, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
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Prosecutor Jason G. Miller is seeking to combine the two cases. Wheeler's attorney, John H. Robinson III of Glen Burnie, told the judge he couldn't respond to that request until he receives more discovery material.
The Anne Arundel State's Attorney's Office does not comment on pending cases; Robinson didn't respond to a request for comment.
Wheeler is also being investigated by federal agents. In February, investigators for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives obtained a federal warrant to search several computers, phones, cameras and thumb drives seized from Wheeler's home.
In the warrant application, ATF investigators wrote that Wheeler told them he had bought chemicals online and had set off five improvised explosive devices at his home. The last one was the largest, at 6 inches long, Wheeler told officers.
"He stated that it 'blew off his pants,'" the ATF wrote in the warrant application. An ATF spokesman did not respond to a request for comment Friday.