Admitted Truckee fire bomber sentenced in Calif. court
September 4, 2007
A Truckee man who pleaded no contest in August to two unrelated felonies was sentenced to nearly a year in jail Tuesday in Nevada County Superior Court.
Judge C. Anders Holmer sentenced Michael Callaghan in two cases.
In the most recent offense, Callaghan admitted igniting an explosive device in a Glenshire neighborhood near Truckee on July 25. He had previously pleaded no contest to a charge of domestic abuse against an ex-girlfriend.
Holmer sentenced Callaghan to a combined 320 days in jail and six years of supervised probation for both cases. Callaghan, the owner of a plumbing and heating business, was also ordered to pay $2,260 in fines and court fees.
Holmer is allowing Callaghan 45 days to report for sentencing.
A more lenient sentencing on the felony domestic-abuse case “went out the window,” when Callaghan was caught igniting a balloon bomb on July 25, Holmer said Tuesday. The judge said Callaghan exercised poor judgment when he ignited the balloon bomb while awaiting sentencing in the domestic abuse case.
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At Tuesday’s sentencing, defense attorney John Ward introduced a video demonstrating that the bomb Callaghan built was not a balloon filled with gasoline but a balloon filled with a welding-torch gas. Ward said the fire bomb posed less of a threat than authorities believed.
But Judge Holmer was unswayed by the video, saying it was irrelevant what the device was made of, especially considering Callaghan’s other legal troubles and that some of his neighbors complained about the explosion and the 30-foot trail of gasoline that Callaghan used as a fuse.
Callaghan said his work sometimes calls for the use of welding pipes.