David Snyder sentenced in UC Davis explosives case
Nov07

David Snyder sentenced in UC Davis explosives case

After a 2013 explosion in his campus apartment, University of California, Davis postdoctoral chemist David Snyder was charged with 17 counts relating to explosives, hazardous waste, and possessing firearms on campus. He went through a preliminary hearing last year, then in September he pled no contest to the charges. His sentencing hearing was today. The judge sentenced Snyder to a total of 4 years and 4 months, with half to be spent in county jail and the other half under “mandatory supervision” by the county probation department,  says Yolo County Chief Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Raven. Update: Snyder was also ordered to pay a $20,000 fine, according to the Yolo County high profile cases web page. Coming up: a restitution hearing on Dec....

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David Snyder pled no contest to all charges in UC Davis explosives case
Sep12

David Snyder pled no contest to all charges in UC Davis explosives case

Former University of California, Davis postdoctoral chemist David Snyder was headed to trial next month on 17 explosives, hazardous waste, and firearms charges stemming from a 2013 explosion in his campus apartment. At a hearing today that was supposed to deal with legal motions prior to an Oct. 20 trial start, Snyder pled no contest to all of the charges, according to an update from the Yolo County District Attorney’s office: Defendant Pled No Contest to all charges in the complaint (17 counts). As he pled to all counts, the DA had no role in this plea. The judge made no promises as to the sentence. There will be a sentencing hearing on 10/17/14. The case was referred to the Probation Department for a presentence report. I’ve reached out to the DA’s office to see if I’m reading that correctly–that this wasn’t a plea agreement, Snyder just decided to plead no contest, and will update when I hear back. For recaps of Snyder’s preliminary hearing, see day one and day two. Update: I was correct, this is not a plea agreement. “I believe we made an offer but it was much higher,” said Jonathan Raven, Yolo County Chief Deputy District Attorney. “Now, it’s really up to the judge, with a recommendation from probation and arguments from both sides, to figure out the sentence.” Raven added that the judge said that he was inclined to give Snyder three years in jail, but the judge made no promise. Other coverage: Sacramento Bee, Woodland Daily Democrat,...

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Trial postponed in UC Davis explosives case
Jun17

Trial postponed in UC Davis explosives case

Former University of California, Davis, chemist David Snyder was headed to trial next month on explosives, hazardous waste, and firearms charges stemming from a 2013 explosion in his campus apartment. The trial has now been postponed to fall, with motions to be heard on Sept. 12, a “trial setting conference” on Oct. 3, and the trial to start on Oct....

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Friday chemical safety round up
Nov22

Friday chemical safety round up

Chemical health and safety news from the past few weeks: Court watch On Nov. 20, UCLA chemistry professor Patrick Harran had a status check with the judge regarding felony charges of labor code violations that led to the death of researcher Sheharbano (Sheri) Sangji. The result of that status check was another status check scheduled for Jan. 10, 2014. Harran’s preliminary hearing concluded on April 26. We’re going on two years since charges were filed on Dec. 27, 2011, and five years since the Dec. 29, 2008, fire. On Nov. 1, former UC Davis chemist David Snyder was arraigned on felony charges of reckless disposal of hazardous waste, possession of a destructive device or explosive, possession of materials with intent to make a destructive device, and possession of firearms on university property. The charges relate to an explosion in his campus apartment nearly one year ago. Snyder’s preliminary hearing concluded on Oct. 10. Snyder is scheduled for a trial-setting conference on March 17, 2014, and a jury trial to start on March 24, 2014. Tweets of the month from @Free_Radical1: First synthesis lab of the semester, and 3 students not wearing goggles. Lab uses conc. phosphoric/sulfuric acid. Meh, vision is over-rated. — Free Radical (@Free_Radical1) November 11, 2013 Idea for post-lab question: do a Google Image Search for “sulfuric acid in eyes”, screen cap the first page of hits, email to TA. #tempting — Free Radical (@Free_Radical1) November 11, 2013 I think our safety committee would have an issue with 450 undergrads synthesizing TNT: http://t.co/xYphFEXxMh — Free Radical (@Free_Radical1) November 21, 2013 Came across a J Chem Ed lab where the students used lithium aluminum hydride. Um…yeah. And by “yeah”, I mean “no”. — Free Radical (@Free_Radical1) November 21, 2013 Other items of interest The president-elect of ACS, Diane Grob Schmidt, is currently the chair of the Division of Chemical Health & Safety NIOSH released new recommendations for controlling worker exposure to nanomaterials BioRAFT will hold a webinar on Proactive EHS Management & Communications on Dec. 12 Residents near an Allenco Energy oil field in Southern California have been complaining for three years about fumes from the site. At Sen. Barbara Boxer’s request, EPA investigators visited the site in October. “I’ve been to oil and gas production facilities throughout the region, but I’ve never had an experience like that before,” [EPA regional administrator Jared] Bumenfeld said. “We suffered sore throats, coughing and severe headaches that lingered for hours.” No word on what’s happened since. Also in California, state regulators are supposed to match hazardous material origin paperwork with what arrives at disposal sites. They don’t. “These so-called lost loads...

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#DavidSnyder ordered to trial in UC Davis explosives case
Oct10

#DavidSnyder ordered to trial in UC Davis explosives case

The preliminary hearing for former University of California, Davis chemist David Snyder concluded on Oct. 4. Yolo County Superior Court Judge David Reed determined that there was enough evidence to send Snyder to trial on 17 felony counts of reckless disposal of hazardous waste, possession of a destructive device or explosive, possession of materials with intent to make a destructive device, and possession of firearms on university property. The charges stem from a January explosion in Snyder’s campus apartment. The preliminary hearing began on July 30 and was supposed to continue on Sept. 6 but was postponed to Oct. 4. In the first part of the hearing, deputy district attorney Martha Holzapfel called eight witnesses, the last of whom was Jason Winger, a West Sacramento police sergeant and member of the Yolo County bomb squad. Holzapfel completed direct questioning of Winger on July 30, and the hearing resumed on Oct. 4 with cross-examination by defense attorney Linda Parisi. In cross-examining Winger, Parisi generally focused on amounts of materials, whether they were in forms that could be effectively used as explosives, and how authorities had tested them. For example, she asked about a vial that had tested positive for triacetone triperoxide (TATP) by a portable Raman spectrometer. Winger testified that the vial was about 1.75 inches tall and 0.75 to 1 inch in diameter, and that it probably contained about 10 to 14 g of material. She also asked whether potassium perchlorate found in Snyder’s apartment was finely ground. Winger testified that it was more granular, and that reponders find it in both granular and finely ground forms in clandestine labs. Winger said that a finer powder would make for a more effective explosive. Parisi next asked about a portable Raman device used for field testing and how it was calibrated. Winger said that he didn’t know about the calibration since it wasn’t his agency’s device. Parisi also asked about one Raman unit that authorities were trying to use to test a device in Snyder’s bedroom when the device exploded. Parisi asked whether that Raman unit was subsequently used to test other things in the apartment. Winger said that it was. The Raman unit has a glass shield to protect it from damage, and while the shield was damaged and removed, the technician operating the unit ran diagnostics that indicated the spectrometer was functioning all right after the explosion. Parisi also asked whether the Raman unit used a single wavelength and whether it used “UV spectroscopy” (these appear to be the instrument specifications, although the instrument used may be an older model). She also asked if the investigators used gas...

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