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Cathedral City explosives suspect deemed incompetent for trial

A judge ruled that a 22-year-old man suspected of making explosive devices at a Cathedral City mobile home is incompetent to stand trial.

Sean Stewart Clarke previously pleaded not guilty to nine felony counts –
– including possession of an explosive device, arson, assembling a booby trap and disposing of hazardous waste — and a misdemeanor count of being under the influence of a controlled substance.

The charges were filed after he was allegedly found to be in possession of an explosive device and bomb-making materials at a unit at Sungate mobile
home park.

At Monday’s hearing at Indio’s Larson Justice Center, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Victoria Cameron declared Clarke unable to assist in his own defense, based on an evaluation by a mental health expert. He will be referred to the county mental health department for a placement recommendation, the judge said.

The defendant remains in custody in lieu of $250,000 bail and is due back in court Nov. 25 for a placement hearing.

A woman who identified herself as Clarke’s mother but declined to give
her name said outside court that she is “just wanting the best for him, so
hopefully it’s fair.”

Clarke’s sister in San Diego called police early on June 24 and asked them to go to her father’s home on Sunseeker Place, saying her brother was there and was “acting delusional,” according to Cathedral City police.

When officers met Clarke at the front door, they saw a powder on the floor, dismantled shotgun shells and buckshot.

“Clarke’s appearance and behavior also led the officers to believe that he was under the influence of a controlled substance,” according to a police
statement. The suspect was in possession of an explosive device, which he said he made with potassium nitrate and aluminum powder, and told officers he “was carrying it for protection,” according to police.

During a sweep of the home, officers saw bomb-making materials and called the sheriff’s bomb unit, which evacuated nearby residents. Technicians used a robot to retrieve a bomb from the porch.

The mobile home was burned down by authorities June 27 as the safest way
to dispose of its explosive contents.

KESQ News Team

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