SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The San Francisco political activist and public relations professional charged in an explosives case has been ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation while in jail in San Francisco.
A federal magistrate judge called for the exam during a hearing on Wednesday after a public defender for Ryan Chamberlain requested it. Chamberlain appeared in court Wednesday chained at the ankles and wore a red jumpsuit.
The 42-year-old suspect was arrested Monday night near San Francisco’s Crissy Field after the FBI launched a manhunt.
He has been charged with a single count of possessing an illegal destructive device Tuesday after investigators said they found pieces that could have been used to assemble a damaging bomb inside his Russian Hill apartment.
The FBI has not said what, if any, specific plans Chamberlain might have had for the items.
He is being held without bail and has not entered a plea.
The FBI affidavit in support of the formal complaint against Chamberlain (PDF) details what investigators said they found in his home. Of note was a messenger bag, which bomb detectives said contained a jar filled with batteries and a green powder, a model rocket motor, an ‘electric match’ commonly used in improvised explosive devices, an assortment of ball bearings, a circuit board configured for remote use and jar lid with a wire attached. The bag was found sitting next to Chamberlain’s kitchen table. Authorities said it appears he lived alone.
The search warrant for Chamberlain’s apartment remains under seal, while the defense still needs to review those documents. The judge has indicated he’s inclined to unseal its contents, citing a presumption to access criminal complaints.
After the search of his apartment, a nationwide manhunt ensued for Chamberlain, who posted what appeared to be a suicide note on social media earlier Monday, detailing his struggles with depression and trouble with family and work.
Chamberlain’s friends have already begun an online campaign to pay attorney fees. As of Tuesday morning, the group had raised more than $6,300 which “will be given to Ryan for his legal defense,” but he’ll be sticking with the federal public defender and has been assigned attorney Jodi Linker. According to the campaign that money will now be put to use for Chamberlain as he “gets back on his feet.”
According to court documents, Chamberlain could face up to ten years in prison and fines of up to $10,000 if convicted.
Chamberlain has worked in public relations and on many local political campaigns in the past 15 years, including Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s when he ran for mayor in San Francisco.
The next hearing in this case is set for this Friday morning at 9:30. Chamberlain will be evaluated by pretrial services and undergo his separate mental health evaluation in the meantime.
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