Tempe man sentenced for homemade bomb - WSMV News 4


Tempe man sentenced for homemade bomb

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Joshua Prater (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) Joshua Prater (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
(Source: Tempe Police Department) (Source: Tempe Police Department)
(Source: Tempe Police Department) (Source: Tempe Police Department)
Police take Joshua Prater into custody. (Source: Tempe Police Department) Police take Joshua Prater into custody. (Source: Tempe Police Department)

A Tempe man who police say had a homemade bomb in his room was sentenced on a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct.

Court officials said Commissioner Virginia Richter sentenced Joshua Prater on Thursday to one year of probation as part of a plea deal.

Prater had previously been charged with misconduct involving weapons, but a Maricopa County Superior Court spokeswoman says he pleaded guilty to the reduced charge.

Prater was a senior at Marcos De Niza High School when he was arrested May 9, 2013 on charges of misconduct involving weapons and possessing a prohibited weapon and an improvised explosive device. A cleaning woman found a bomb and other materials at a home where she was working, police said.

Tempe police spokesman Sgt. Mike Pooley said the homemade device had the potential to injure or kill.

Prater told police he built the device 10 years ago and didn't know it contained explosive powder, Pooley said. Pooley said there were no notes or known motives.

Some students at the high school said they were surprised that Prater was allegedly behind the device.

Jackson Loney and Prater attended the same second-hour class. Loney said Prater is funny, nice and intelligent.

Loney did say that he thought Prater seemed like an "outcast" who didn't appear to have many friends in the class, although Loney admitted he doesn't know him outside the classroom.

Junior Emily Kingsley also said Prater was smart, but she didn't think Prater had a lot of friends and that he kept to himself.

"Every time I saw him, he seemed like such a good kid," Kingsley said.

A spokesman for the Tempe Union High School District said the school was swept by Tempe police before classes began.

The device contained gunpowder and was small enough to fit in a person's hand, Pooley said.

It was constructed from a CO2 cartridge, a fuse often used in fireworks, low explosive gunpowder, match heads and fireworks, according to a court document.

The maid told police she found what looked like a bomb and took the device to a Tempe fire station to have it checked out, Pooley said.

When fire department personnel saw the device, they immediately notified Tempe police.

Police rushed to the scene and deemed it a legitimate improvised explosive device, Pooley said. 

The IED was disabled and the maid told officers there were more materials at the home.

Pooley said she had also taken photos of the materials, which showed items used for making more IEDs.

Police searched the home in the 1600 block of East Candlestick Road. 

Pooley said friends had apparently taught Prater how to make the device.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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