CARROLLTON, Va. (WAVY) — A judge has denied bond for a man charged with possessing material to make bombs in Isle of Wight.
With new information coming from court, the case that began with a threat to shoot up a school circled back in that direction in Isle of Wight County.
Paul Longoria, 32 of Carrollton, is charged with possessing bomb-making materials. He was denied bond Monday morning by Judge Wallace Bittle.
Federal and local authorities raided the home on Graystone Drive on July 31 where he lives with his parents and brother. They found chemicals, pressure and electronic switches that can be used as triggers, black powder, pipes and other items.
The case began in March when the FBI started tracking a threat made on the anonymous internet site 4chan. It told of plans to shoot up an unspecified school with an AR-15 rifle. The FBI traced the IP address to the Longoria residence.
According to Commonwealth’s Attorney Georgette Phillips, authorities went to the home in June and interviewed Longoria about the case. They did not file any charges or take any evidence at that time, but Phillips says Longoria told them during that encounter that he owned three AR-15 rifles.
Both defense and prosecuting attorneys talked about those guns in court Monday. They were apparently locked in a safe inside the home. Phillips says loaded high-capacity magazines were also in the home.
Defense Attorney Stephen Plott pointed out that because the guns were not seized, and that none of the components were assembled into an actual bomb, that Longoria deserved to be freed on bond.
Plott also said that taken by themselves, the chemicals seized were common household items – magnesium sulfate (epsom salt) and sodium carbonate (baking soda).
Bittle was not convinced. “Why else would a man in Isle of Wight County have pressure switches?” he asked of Plott.
Plott mentioned that Longoria has epilepsy and does not have a driver’s license, so it’s unclear how he gathered the items that investigators took from the home, which, according to documents, Longoria has admitted to owning.
Phillips mentioned in court that the switches that can be used as bomb triggers were located in a box for New Balance sneakers of the same size Longoria wears.
Plott appealed the judge’s decision and will be heard August 15. Longoria’s preliminary hearing was set for October 18.