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Judge Sets Bail for Man Accused in Feb. Bomb Scare

Duane G. Davis Sr. is charged with planting a phony destructive device and making a false statement.

The man accused in a February bomb scare could be released on bail as early as Tuesday, a Baltimore County Circuit Court judge ruled.

In a hearing in Towson on Tuesday morning, Baltimore County Circuit Court Judge Susan Souder set bail at $10,000 for Duane G. Davis Sr. Attorneys in the case say a trial could happen within the next few weeks.

Davis had been held without bail and underwent a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation.

On Feb. 7, Davis, 51, left a toilet in front of the Baltimore County Courthouse in Towson. The decorated toilet had a cell phone and old radio tied to it. A maintenance worker spotted it that morning, thought it looked suspicious, and called police, who brought in the bomb squad, helicopters and robots. Several streets in downtown Towson were blocked that morning until the toilet was determined to be innocuous.

Later that day, Davis was arrested at his apartment in the 1300 block of Lochner Road in Baltimore. He was charged with planting a phony destructive device and making a false statement regarding such a device. 

The legal question is whether Davis intended for the toilet to be seen as a bomb.

Assistant State's Attorney Michael Fuller said at the hearing that the authorities' response is proof enough.

"They took it seriously," he said. "They put on the bomb suits. They sent in the robots."

Fuller also pointed to Davis' Facebook posts that day, in which he wrote, "Monday morning Madness. Left my Toilet at the Baltimore County Courthouse. Also left a kite of Knowledge. Secrets will not Block Justice."

Attorney Thomas Saunders, who is representing Davis pro bono, said his client admits exercising poor judgment, but that does not rise to the level of intent.

"He's expressed that he had no idea that it would cause that kind of effect," Saunders said.

Davis, wearing a white sweatshirt and light-colored jeans, whispered to Saunders as the proceedings began but was otherwise silent during the brief hearing.

Davis had planted similar toilets outside the Baltimore City Public Schools headquarters and the American Visionary Art Museum. He considered leaving the toilets an act of political protest. They were decorated with photos and petitions, like the one left in Towson.

Davis' YouTube page has 238 videos in which Davis claims, among other things, public officials are violating his civil rights. His toilets appear in at least one of those videos.

At a District Court bail hearing, Davis was ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, and has been held at Spring Grove Hospital in Catonsville since then. Though evaluators there found he had some mental health issues, they ruled he is competent to stand trial.

Two years ago, Davis was convicted of disorderly conduct in Illinois and served probation. In December, Davis tried to sue Gov. Martin O'Malley. A state judge dismissed the suit in January.

Saunders conceded that Davis was "obsessed with certain theories" but said they are "irrelevant to the legal question." He said Davis asked him not to make any plea deals and insisted on a trial.

"He doesn't want to walk away from this," Saunders said at the hearing. "He wants to be heard in terms of what he is trying to do."

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