Teen guilty of misdemeanor for lighting explosive device Judge gives 18-year-old three years' probation

May 29, 1998|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

A teen-ager who lighted a homemade explosive under a trash can to see how high it would blast the can pleaded guilty yesterday to recklessly endangering other people and was placed on three years' probation.

Jerimi J. Kriner, 18, asked Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Clayton R. Greene Jr. "to take mercy on me" because he spent 104 days in jail awaiting trial. His bail had been set at $5,000. Kriner's attorney, Gill Cochran, described the February event as the prank of a curious, if troubled, youth.

Greene gave Kriner an 18-month sentence on the misdemeanor and suspended all but the time served, admonishing Kriner to stay away from explosives and to get counseling during his probation. Kriner was led from the courtroom in handcuffs to face a Charles County charge of setting a trash can ablaze next to a gas station.

In the Anne Arundel plea agreement, the more serious charge of manufacturing and possessing an explosive device was dropped. A conviction on that charge is punishable by a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

Assistant State's Attorney Cliff Stoddard told Greene that Kriner, who lives in the 4700 block of Flanders Lane in Harwood, bought a pound of black gunpowder at a Wayson's Corner store and detonated the device in his yard. Outside the courtroom, fire investigator Doug Wilson said the explosion "just rattled the windows" of other homes in the trailer park but had the potential to cause tremendous damage.

"We can't just let kids go out here and build explosive devices," he said, noting that teens commonly injure themselves when building pipe bombs.

Kriner told investigators that he stuffed a toilet paper roll with powder and a candle to see "how high a trash can would jump," Cochran said.

It jumped about two feet, spilling garbage but causing no damage.

Cochran argued that such youthful experimentation is common and that it is possible that he, his son and others had tried it over the years.

"I didn't do it," Greene replied, noting that he wrote poetry.

Kriner, who is an 11th-grade dropout and has a juvenile record of property destruction and possession of marijuana, had received psychiatric counseling for eight years until the past year, when therapy authorized by juvenile authorities ended because he turned 18, Cochran said.

Pub Date: 5/29/98

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