A Severna Park bar owner placed on probation yesterday for illegallypossessing explosives denied planning to blow up the house of a neighbor who wanted the bar closed.
David G. Paff, 64, owner of the Earleigh Heights Tavern, had been indicted on a more serious charge of "possession of explosives with intent to terrorize." He pleaded guilty yesterday in county Circuit Court to a reduced charge of possessingan explosive device without a license.
The earlier charge was brought after police found explosives lastMay in Paff's home above the tavern. The search came a day after an anonymous caller told police Paff was planning to firebomb the home of a neighbor who had circulated a petition demanding the bar be closed.
The Earleigh Heights Tavern has a troubled history with the county liquor board, police and residents on Earleigh Heights Road, who complained of drug dealing and alcohol sales to minors. The bar was damaged during a 1987 shooting incident.
The tavern's liquor license was revoked five months ago. Paff is attempting to sell the bar, said his lawyer, Michael L. May.
May said a quarter-stick of dynamite found in Paff's home by police had been given to Paff by a customerthree or four years earlier. May said no pipe bombs were found in the home, and added, "He never intended anything for the neighbor. Mr. Paff wishes the neighbor no ill will."
Judge Martin A. Wolff gave Paff a one-year suspended sentence, placed him on probation for a year and ordered him to pay $140 in court costs. The judge said he wouldconsider granting Paff probation before judgment, which would erase the conviction, after he completes his probationary period.
Paff had been free on $25,000 bond while awaiting trial.