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Bail set at $100,000 for man accused of Boston bomb hoax

Posted at 6:17 PM, Apr 16, 2014
and last updated 2014-04-16 18:17:55-04

(CNN) — A judge on Wednesday set bail at $100,000 for a man accused of carrying a fake bomb near a Boston crowd that was marking the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings.

The judge also ordered the suspect, Kevin Edson, also known as Kayvon Edson, to be seen at a state hospital that evaluates defendants’ sanity after a mental health professional told the judge that Edson has a history of psychiatric disturbances.

Police said they arrested Edson, 25, on Tuesday evening after he was found carrying a backpack containing a rice cooker near the Boston Marathon finish line on Boylston Street, where survivors of the 2013 bombing were to complete a marathon-length walk marking the attack’s anniversary.

In the 2013 attack, two pressure-cooker bombs exploded, killing three people and wounding at least 264 others.

A barefoot Edson, carrying a backpack and wearing black clothes with a veil and hat covering his face, screamed and yelled during Wednesday’s event on Boylston Street, drawing officers’ attention, police said.

Officers found a rice cooker in the backpack, and Edson told them it was nonexplosive, Assistant District Attorney Susan Terrey told Judge Michael Coyne on Wednesday.

Authorities evacuated the area, and a bomb squad detonated the rice cooker as a precaution. Specialists determined the object had not been a bomb, police said.

According to Terrey, Edson told police: “I knew what I was doing. It was being conceived in my head. It’s symbolism. Come on. The performance got the best of me.”

Terrey asked for the $100,000 bail, arguing that Edson had shown a willingness to put his interests ahead of society’s.

Edson had been hospitalized multiple times for psychiatric problems and had been off his medications for three to four months, a mental health professional told Coyne, without elaborating about the disturbances.

Defense attorney Shannon Lopez argued for a bail of $5,000, telling the judge that Edson needed “some assistance to stabilize himself mentally” but arguing that he wasn’t a danger to the public, has never been convicted of a crime and never made a bomb threat.

Edson was charged with disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct, disturbing a public assembly, possession or use of a hoax device, and making a false bomb threat. The latter charge carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison upon conviction, the Suffolk County district attorney’s office said.

He has pleaded not guilty, CNN affiliate WHDH reported.

“If this was a performance, it was the most irresponsible, senseless, and selfish performance I can imagine,” Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley said in a news release. “It was also criminal. It was akin to shouting ‘fire’ in a theater. People were put in fear, public transportation was disrupted, and a day of somber remembrance and reflection was marred by this defendant’s choices.

“There could not have been a worse time or place for this inexcusable behavior.”

CNN’s Allison Malloy, Leigh Remizowski, Susan Candiotti and Holly Yan contributed to this report.

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