David Snyder may find out in September whether he'll be tried for a January blast.

Hearing told of UC Davis chemist's formulations of explosives

Published: Saturday, Jul. 27, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Monday, Jul. 29, 2013 - 6:59 am

A September hearing will determine whether former UC Davis chemist David Snyder will stand trial on explosives and weapons charges stemming from a January blast at his apartment.

Yolo Superior Court Judge David Reed set a Sept. 6 date to continue the preliminary hearing that began with testimony Friday.

Snyder faces 17 charges connected to the explosion that seriously injured his hand, forced the evacuation of his Russell Park apartment complex in Davis and required a response from Sacramento-area bomb squads.

Yolo County prosecutors Friday focused on evidence campus police and other investigators found in Snyder's Russell Park apartment.

Law enforcement officials, including Jason Winger, a Davis police bomb technician, and UC Davis police Officer Joanne Zekany, testified that the evidence included chemicals taken from UC Davis chemistry labs, completed explosive compounds, ammunition and a small assortment of weapons.

Other dangerous materials, investigators said, were recovered from large metal trash bins near Snyder's apartment, dumped by a friend who retrieved the materials from Snyder's apartment in the hours after the blast, police testified.

Snyder's attorney Linda Parisi has portrayed the explosion as an accident and described Snyder as a tinkerer.

On Friday, Parisi cast doubt on the university's handling of hazardous materials, saying there were "no set rules" about taking chemicals from campus labs.

University officials in a statement Friday said they have taken steps to improve safety and security in chemistry labs and that university police have hired a security director, effective Aug. 1.

Police officers, detectives and bomb technicians who investigated the blast testified Snyder had a collection of chemicals, including nitroglycerin, in the apartment.

Zekany testified that Snyder had offered to show a student how to create explosives days before the blast at his apartment.

The student described a Jan. 9 incident when Snyder, technical manual in hand, offered to show her how to make the explosive triacetone triperoxide, Zekany testified. Zekany said the student told her Snyder made the volatile mixture, then said "not to tell anyone." Zekany testified that another student told her Snyder had created hydrogen peroxide explosives in the lab.

Snyder received his undergraduate degree from UC Davis in 2004 and his doctorate there in 2011. In January, he was working in a campus laboratory on a two-month appointment.

Call The Bee's Darrell Smith, (916) 321-1040.

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