Hazmat property owner defended, lawyer says he was not making bomb for rocker Richards
Updated 11:35 am, Thursday, October 17, 2013
"A friend of Mr. Callahan nine years ago met Keith Richards and he (Callahan) knew Keith Richards liked pyrotechnics, so he built this device in the event he met Keith Richards," Meehan said.
"This has been a stressful time for me," said Callahan, as television cameras pushed within inches of his face. "I never had any mal-intent. My interest was in legal activities."
Only moments earlier, the 69-year-old Callahan was arraigned before Superior Court Judge Earl Richards -- no relation to Keith -- on 112 counts of illegal possession of explosives, six counts of first-degree reckless endangerment and one count of manufacture of bombs that police said they found Oct. 1 on his Bronson Road property. The discovery triggered a hazmat emergency that took crews more than a day to bring under control.
While waiting for his name to be called on the docket, Callahan, who formerly ran his own chemical consulting company in the Southport section of Fairfield and had earlier worked many years for Remington Arms, sat in the gallery of the arraignment court, his dark suit, white shirt and striped tie clearly out of place.
Meehan later acknowledged that his client had a problem with prescription drugs.
"He told an officer who came to his house, `Thank you for saving my life,' " Meehan said.
On Oct. 1, Fairfield police -- first responding to a call for a wellness check on Callahan from his ex-wife, then to a call from Callahan about an alleged break-in -- found 274 guns, more than 100 explosive devices and chemicals used to make bombs at Callahan's home at 1625 Bronson Road.
While searching the garage, police said they asked Callahan to identify some of the hundreds of pounds of chemicals stored inside drums there.
"That's the chemical used in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing," police said Callahan told them, naming ammonium nitrate. Other chemicals were said to be the same as those used in the Oklahoma City bombing.
Police said Callahan also told them he liked to build rockets and had detonation cords in his house, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.
Then there was the large bomb Callahan said he'd been making for Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, a Weston resident. The device was in the garage next to the spray tank, although Callahan couldn't remember if he had attached a fuse to it yet.
Meehan said his client owned the guns legally, and on July 18, was issued a permit from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to possess the explosives.
"This is a case probably more of confusion rather than criminal intent," Meehan said, adding that his client is an amateur rocketeer and that a lot of what police found is related to that hobby.
"I probably had too much," Callahan agreed.