Darling denied release
GLOVERSVILLE — The city man who was arrested with unlawful possession of an unregistered destructive device for allegedly possessing six capped metal pipes was deemed a danger to the community and to himself and was denied release from incarceration.
Michael Darling appeared virtually before Hon. Christian Hummel of the Northern District of New York U.S. Court on Wednesday for a detention hearing in which his attorney, Joe McCoy, said his client had no intentions to harm anyone but himself and requested his client be released from incarceration as it would “exacerbate his mental health,” and stated that Darling is not a flight risk.
McCoy said the events of the Feb. 12 incident and Darling’s intentions to harm himself began when law enforcement contacted him in regards to the death of his ex-wife, who had committed suicide a few years ago. Her death was fully investigated and Darling was found not responsible in any way, however, the family of his ex-wife reopened the case.
“This investigation opened old wounds, as the court knows from the pretrial services report, Darling has mental health issues and he himself has attempted suicide in the past,” McCoy said.
He said Darling then had handwritten letters and a will written to his girlfriend and his children.
“There’s approximately five pages, in all of the five pages, there’s absolutely nothing that indicates he intended to do harm to anyone but himself,” McCoy said.
According to an affidavit, on Feb. 12, Darling’s girlfriend had connected the Gloversville Police Department reporting Darling had left a suicide note. During a welfare check, police observed what appeared to be a pipe bomb and evacuated the surrounding area. A search warrant was granted by Fulton County Judge Polly Hoye. Members of the state police Bomb Disposal Unit and GPD executed the search warrant and recovered rolls of fuse, container of pyrodex, threaded pipes with caps drilled out containing quantities of fuse, threaded pipe sections, threaded pipe end caps with holes drilled, rocket engines, mercury switch and soldering iron.
On Feb. 18, during the first scheduled detention hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Rob Sharpe claimed Darling to be a risk of flight and a danger to himself and the community.
Sharpe said Darling was not home on Feb. 12 when police arrived at 14 McLaren St., and when police executed the search warrant.
Sharpe said Darling allegedly left his house at some point on Feb. 12 with large bags believed to potentially contain firearms or other pipe bombs and traveled out of state to Denton, North Carolina..
He said that Darling had allegedly given them the bag which contained two firearms — a 20-gauge shotgun and a .308 rifle.
Sharpe said Darling and one of the North Carolina residents returned to the 14 McLaren St. residence sometime on Feb. 14, and Darling was brought to St. Mary’s Hospital. The police then went back to the McLaren residence on Feb. 14 to make sure there were no other pipe bombs or firearms and there was not.
On Wednesday, McCoy confirmed that Darling did travel to North Carolina to speak to a friend who convinced him “suicide was not the answer,” removed any items from the vehicle that could cause Darling any harm and then drove him back to New York and convinced him to admit himself to St. Mary’s.
McCoy continued, stating that of the pipe bombs and other materials found in Darling’s home, none of them were diffused or detonated.
“There was no indication that he intended [for the bombs to explode if a person found one of them,]” McCoy said.
Darling has experience in bearing explosives and fireworks, and in the past he, along with his North Carolina friend, have exploded fireworks and several devices in the woods “for their entertainment,” McCoy said.
He believes that continued incarceration will exacerbate Darling’s mental health issues and potentially lead him to self harm. He requested Darling be released in some form using substantial property that he owns as collateral and allow him to seek the “mental health he needs.”
McCoy added that Darling will not receive the same mental health care in jail as he would at a hospital, and that any possible danger to the community and himself has been removed.
In regards to Darling being a risk of flight, Hummel said, “The court finds in fact there are conditions that would ensure his return to court. The government’s argument that he’s a risk of flight is largely based on the fact that he traveled to North Carolina in recent weeks. The court will note he traveled to North Carolina voluntarily, and voluntarily returned from North Carolina and admitted himself to St. Mary’s hospital.”
He continued, “However with respect to the danger to the community argument, I find there are no conditions or set of conditions I could set which would ensure the safety of the community, and therefore I’m remanding him to detention pending proceedings in this matter.”
Hummel added that Darling has a criminal history dating back to 1997 in which he allegedly pointed a pellet handgun at two students at Gloversville High School; in 2002, he pleaded guilty to petit larceny and fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property; in 2004, he pleaded guilty to unlawful imprisonment; in 2009 he pleaded guilty to third-degree burglary and was sentenced 16 months to four years in jail.