Talk about a recipe for disaster: mix a bored Florida Institute of Technology college student with a "MythBusters" episode about how to make a homemade bomb. The result? Criminal charges.
FIT student Christian Barnes Duke, 19, is accused of following the TV show's recipe when he allegedly detonated a homemade bomb at an FIT dormitory over the weekend. He reportedly told police that he learned how to make the bomb by watching the popular Discovery Channel program, reports Florida Today.
The bomb went off shortly after midnight in a stairwell. While the device made a loud blasting noise, no one was hurt.
The FIT student allegedly created his "MythBusters" bomb by using common household chemicals and items, making it "Confirmed" (as the "MythBusters" guys would say) that someone can create a bomb in a dorm room.
But Duke isn't getting extra credit for his "MythBusters" bomb-making experiment. Instead, he now faces felony charges for possessing a destructive device on school property and making, possessing, placing and discharging a destructive device, according to Florida Today. Both charges are felonies and carry possible five-year prison terms.
Given heightened sensitivities about homegrown "terror" attacks, Duke could potentially be locked away for a very long time for what could have been intended as a prank.
Duke will need a good criminal defense attorney given the serious charges he faces. Some potential defenses he may try to employ include that he did not intend to injure or hurt anyone by creating the bomb, and that he did not in fact know that he was creating a workable bomb.
It remains to be seen if the Discovery Channel or "MythBusters" producers will bear any responsibility. Depending on what they showed on TV, it may be possible to argue that they provided a handbook for every bored teenager to create a homemade bomb with everyday items.
- Police: Bomb at Florida Tech made by student inspired by 'MythBusters' (Central Florida News 13)
- Man Cites 'MythBusters' in Refusal to Take Sobriety Test (FindLaw's Legally Weird)
- 'MythBusters' Cannonball Hits House, Van (FindLaw's Injured)
- 11 Walmart Bomb Threats May Be Linked: Police (FindLaw's Blotter)