Tabor Bomb Suspect To Be Evaluated

TYNDALL — A Tabor man who injured himself in an August house explosion he allegedly caused will receive a psychiatric evaluation as part of his court proceedings.

Joseph Thomas Hansen, 29, appeared Tuesday for a status hearing in Bon Homme County Court at Tyndall. Defense attorney Luci Youngberg of Yankton had previously requested her client receive an evaluation because he intended to plead guilty but mentally ill.

Circuit Judge Cheryle Gering approved the defense recommendation of Taryn VanGilder-Pierce, a licensed psychologist, to conduct the evaluation.

Gering set a maximum of $7,500 for the psychologist’s services. Bon Homme County will pay the costs up front with Hansen reimbursing the county, the judge said.

The figure does not include VanGilder-Pierce’s time for testifying in court, Gering added.

The judge gave the defense 21 days for completion of the evaluation and submission of the report to the court, with an extension possible for cause.

In setting the 21-day time frame, Gering said she realized the psychologist will need to review prior records and possibly deal with previous providers. In addition, VanGilder-Pierce will likely want to conduct her own interview and testing of Hansen.

The judge set a Dec. 28 status hearing in Tyndall as the next court appearance.

Hansen faces two charges of sale, transportation or possession of a destructive device and nine counts of unauthorized possession of substances with intent to make a destructive device.

The first two counts involved a pipe bomb, according to court documents. The Class 3 felony carries a maximum sentence on each count of 15 years in prison and a $30,000 fine.

The other nine charges involved capped pipes, cannon fuse, fireworks/energetic materials, piping and end caps, according to court documents.

Hansen allegedly intended to make a destructive device without first obtaining a permit from the Department of Public Safety to make such a device, court records say. The offense is a Class 5 felony, with each count carrying a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

In addition, the prosecution has filed information with the court that Hansen is a habitual offender because of two prior convictions. As such, he is subject to enhanced penalties as provided by state law.

Court records outline those two prior convictions, including a January 2011 conviction in Roberts County on a charge of selling, transporting or possessing a destructive device.

As an 18-year-old, he served prison time for allegedly threatening to blow up Sisseton High School, which he was attending. At the time, he indicated he wanted to create as much death and destruction as possible, and he wanted to be known as “the world’s most infamous sociopath.”

Hansen, who was living in Claire City at the time, served 10 years in prison for possessing ammunition and fireworks as part of his alleged plan.

In November 2020, he was convicted in Yankton County of unauthorized possession of a controlled drug or substance, Class I or II. A probation violation was filed in Hansen’s case and an arrest warrant was issued, according to the Yankton County clerk of courts office.

Besides local law enforcement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) are working on the case, as is the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI).

Two FBI special agent bomb technicians assisted the South Dakota DCI bomb squad in rendering safe some of the devices, according to FBI spokesman Kevin Smith.

Hansen currently remains in the Bon Homme County Jail in Tyndall on $250,000 cash-only bond.

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