Twins get prison for bomb­ing spree

Judge for­bids con­tact for 5 years as part of their sen­tence

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Michael P. Rel­la­han mrel­la­han@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Ch­escoCourtNews on Twit­ter

>> The two men who pleaded guilty to det­o­nat­ing a se­ries of makeshift pipe bombs in ru­ral western Chester County and eastern Lan­caster County were for­bid­den by a Com­mon Pleas Court judge as part of their sen­tence Mon­day from hav­ing any con­tact with one an­other dur­ing the five years of their court su­per­vi­sion.

No phone calls. No let­ters. No Face­book posts or emails. No Ea­gles’ games watched on tele­vi­sion, or com­mon high school re­u­nion cel­e­bra­tions. No hol­i­day din­ners to­gether or Christ­mas cards ex­changed. No con­tact what­so­ever.

Which would not be en­tirely un­usual, ex­cept that the men are brothers — fra­ter­nal twins who have been a pres­ence in one an­other’s lives for all of their 23 years.

Judge Phyllis Stre­i­tel, who ac­cepted the guilty pleas of brothers Caleb Tate and Daniel Tate for the ex­plo­sions they set off while home on break from col­lege last Christ­mas­time, largely in­volv­ing the prop­erty of mem­bers of the Amish com­mu­nity, said she was con­cerned that when to­gether the pair may have sub­con­sciously

egged one an­other on.

“You seem to have trou­ble say­ing, ‘I,’” Stre­i­tel told Caleb Tate, the first of the two to stand be­fore her and ad­mit his role in the crimes, not­ing that he had trou­ble ex­plain­ing his ac­tions with­out re­fer­ring to “we.”

“You might be more able to be­come an in­di­vid­ual ca­pa­ble of mak­ing your own good choices” if he stayed away from his brother, who was seated just a few feet away, wait­ing to en­ter his own plea, she told him.

Both men, from Lon­don­derry, en­tered guilty pleas to felony charges of ar­son and mis­de­meanor re­tail theft. They were sen­tenced to six to 23 months in Chester County Prison, fol­lowed by five years pro­ba­tion.

Stre­i­tel added the strict no con­tact pro­vi­sions to the sen­tence after a lengthy con­fer­ence with all three at­tor­neys in the case — As­sis­tant District At­tor­ney Bail Joy, the pros­e­cu­tor, and de­fense at­tor­neys Vince DiFabio of Paoli, rep­re­sent­ing Daniel Tate, and Robert Dona­toni of West Chester, rep­re­sent­ing Caleb Tate.

In her com­ments to Caleb Tate, Stre­i­tel ac­knowl­edged that the ar­range­ments might be dif­fi­cult for the fam­ily. She said the brothers would not be al­lowed to con­tinue re­sid­ing at their par­ents’ home, and that it might be dif­fi­cult to choose who could live there and who could not. “You can be at your home any­more if your brother is not,” she said.

Joy said his of­fice had ex­tended the of­fer of a county prison sen­tence to the brothers, when they could have faced state prison time, be­cause of the “good grace” of their vic­tims. He said the vic­tims, many of them Amish, said they re­al­ized the men were not “hard­ened crim­i­nals” but that they had caused some fear and hard­ship in the com­mu­nity.

Stre­i­tel or­dered the men to write in­di­vid­ual let­ters of apol­ogy to each of their vic­tims, and to per­form 200 hours of com­mu­nity ser­vice. “That will show you that if you stay busy enough, you will feel more part of the com­mu­nity. You will learn how to be thank­ful in­stead of thank­less.”

Both brothers ex­pressed con­tri­tion for their ac­tions, and said they had shamed their fam­i­lies and them­selves.

“I am deeply sad­dened by what I did to the vic­tims,” said Caleb Tate. “But I am hum­bled by what they said about me.”

The twins set off im­pro­vised ex­plo­sive de­vices (IEDs) on five oc­ca­sions be­tween Dec. 15 and Dec. 31 hav­ing picked up the idea from watch­ing sim­i­lar stunts on YouTube. The tar­gets of the bomb­ing in­cluded a mail­box, an Amish phone shed, a small Amish pro­duce shed, and a well pump shed. Although no peo­ple were in any of the build­ings when the ex­plo­sions took place, the det­o­na­tions could have in­jured or killed any­body who was present, au­thor­i­ties said at the time.

Ac­cord­ing to an ar­rest af­fi­davit that was filed by state Trooper Jerry Harper, who serves as the state po­lice fire mar­shal for the county,

Both men en­tered guilty pleas to felony charges of ar­son and mis­de­meanor re­tail theft. They were sen­tenced to six to 23 months in Chester County Prison, fol­lowed by five years pro­ba­tion.

both brothers ad­mit­ted to their in­volve­ment in build­ing and det­o­nat­ing the pipe bombs. They were in­ter­viewed in Fe­bru­ary at Pep­per­dine Univer­sity in Mal­ibu, Calif, where Daniel Tate was a stu­dent, and in Los An­ge­les, Calif., where Caleb Tate, a stu­dent at Bel­mont Col­lege in Nashville, Tenn., was stay­ing at the time.

Both men, who are 2012 grad­u­ates of Oc­torara High School, were charged in May.

Stre­i­tel, as she lis­tened to Joy re­cite what the pair had done, and then read­ing the crim­i­nal com­plaint, was clearly dis­turbed by the crimes.

“I am shocked by what I heard,” the judge said. “I find it highly of­fen­sive. You sound like ter­ror­ists. There is a very sick in­tent be­hind these ac­tions.”

Af­ter­ward, the men were both led from the court­room by sher­iff deputies to be­gin serv­ing their sen­tences.

To con­tact staff writer Michael P. Rel­la­han call 610-696-1544.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO — CHESTER COUNTY DA’S OF­FICE

Caleb, left, and Daniel Tate, 22, pleaded guilty to det­o­nat­ing a se­ries of makeshift pipe bombs in ru­ral western Chester County and eastern Lan­caster County.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.