Supremacist gets plea deal in pipe bombings

June 03, 1993|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,Staff Writer

The leader of a white-supremacist church who pleaded guilty to the pipe bombings of a Baltimore County policeman's house and a state trooper's patrol car wasn't making a political statement, prosecutors said yesterday.

Charles Edward Altvater was merely furious because police had his car towed a few hours earlier.

Altvater, the 31-year old leader of the Baltimore Church of the Creator, pleaded guilty yesterday to reckless endangerment and a bomb charge stemming from the Nov. 5 incidents.

In return, the prosecution dropped a variety of other charges, including five counts of attempting to murder the police officer and members of his family in their home in Country Ridge Estates off Back River Neck Road. Baltimore County Circuit Judge J. Norris Byrnes granted a request by Assistant Public Defender Rodney C. Warren for a psychiatric evaluation before sentencing.

Prosecutor Mark H. Tilkin said the state will seek maximum, consecutive sentences totaling 25 years.

Mr. Altvater was arrested after county police and federal agents of the Treasury's Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms unit raided his house in the 1400 block of Strawflower Road and that of a girlfriend on Valley Arbor Court, Mr. Tilkin said.

Among the items seized were two rifles and three handguns, racist newspapers and T-shirts, and quarter-stick explosives -- each equivalent to a quarter stick of dynamite.

Other evidence outlined by prosecutors included testimony from a former church member that Altvater taught him to how make the bombs and identification by a gun shop clerk who sold Altvater a pound of black powder and recorded his driver's license.

The events began about 1:30 a.m. Nov. 5 when police officers warned Altvater against driving with a flat tire.

After he wound up in a ditch moments later, they had his car towed over his protests and curses, Mr. Tilkin said.

About 3 a.m., Altvater began a series of complaining calls to the 911 emergency operator and state police from pay telephones. At 3:30 a.m., he went to the precinct house in Essex -- and was thrown out as a nuisance.

At 5:30 a.m., Mr. Tilkin said, a bomb blew out the windshield of the a trooper's cruiser where it was parked on South Marlyn Avenue.

The second blast, at 5:42 a.m., damaged the door, a glider and awning at the county police officer's home. The officer, his mother, and his sister's three children were inside but weren't injured.

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