WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – A man accused of detonating a bomb in a popular Williamsburg shopping center was found competent to stand trial.
Stephen Powers was arrested and charged on October 20. Court documents say a pipe bomb was set off in the mulchy part of a parking lot on October 19. No one was injured in the explosion, but it did frighten people who were in town for the College of William and Mary’s homecoming. The campus is directly across the street from where the bomb was set off.
Court documents claim that on Oct. 11, Williamsburg Police and Colonial Williamsburg responded to the maintenance office which is located below Chico’s on Duke of Gloucester Street. People say they smelled sulfur, and officers reported the area appearing “hazy”. Officers also reported the basement area smelling like someone had just set off firecrackers. Stephen Powers said he was checking boilers in the area when an employee asked him to check out an odor in the basement.
Documents say on Oct. 12, Williamsburg Police came back to the same area after Powers claimed to have found a note that read “I am sorry my device did not work last night – D”. Powers says he found a similar note in the same place on October 14th. The note also mentioned the word “Adramelech”. According to court documents, Powers told police that the only people who would know that word would be the people he served overseas with, but Powers told police that all of the people he served with either died or were in jail, because he testified against them.
Police say they checked with a military data base to look into Powers’ record. It was determined that Powers was a DOD civilian and went active duty in 2006-2007 as a dental technician. However, according to court documents, Powers was never deployed to Iraq and was discharged honorably from the military. It was determined that Powers fabricated the story about serving in Iraq, according to court documents.
Records say Powers was told by a superior to not come to work on October 17th. The next day, Powers reported to police that he received another note at home. On October 19th, the day of bombing, police went to Powers’ home to talk to him about the note and interviewed him. Court documents say they returned on October 20th and Powers allowed investigators to search his home.
In court documents, police say they found the same materials inside Powers’ home as they did at the scene of the bombing. Powers told police that his credit card had been stolen and that a charge of $120 at Bass Pro Shops in Hampton was not his. According to the documents, Powers is seen on surveillance camera inside the store shopping with his young son. Court documents say he bought three jars of Benchmark Smokeless powder.
His next hearing is set for March 8.