Student, 17, Charged in Fatal Pipe Bomb Blast

Times Staff Writer

A 17-year-old University of San Diego High School student has been arrested and charged in connection with the July 28 pipe bomb explosion that killed fellow student Michael Kevin Ham, Deputy Dist. Atty. Robert Amador said Monday.

Amador said the boy has been charged with five felony counts stemming from the July 28 incident in which Ham, 17, was killed by a pipe bomb that exploded as he held it out the window of a moving car in the Del Cerro neighborhood of San Diego. Ham of Escondido was riding with two classmates, Daniel Smith and Paul Giacalone, both of San Diego.

Amador declined to name the boy who is being charged. However, a spokesman for the district attorney confirmed that no charges have been brought against Giacalone. Smith's father confirmed that his son had been arrested Friday night and referred all other questions to his attorney, who couldn't be reached for comment Monday.

Scheduled to Plead

Smith is scheduled to enter a plea in juvenile court today. A judge will determine whether he will be allowed to go home or be held at a juvenile detention facility. Amador said he intends to try to prosecute the boy as an adult.

Smith will be arraigned on charges of igniting an explosive device causing injury, possession of an explosive device, possession of an explosive device with intent to wrongfully destroy property, transporting a destructive device, and unlawful possession of material with intent to make an explosive device.

He will also be arraigned on a sixth charge in connection with a July 21 explosion that damaged a car on Wandermere Court in San Carlos.

Investigators said Ham, Smith and Giacalone were riding along Madra Avenue in Del Cerro on their way to Smith's house after a homemade pipe bomb failed to detonate in a canyon bordering Madra Avenue and Mission Trails Park.

Ham was holding the bomb when it went off. Smith and Giacalone suffered minor injuries, while Ham was killed almost instantly.

Police said they found a large quantity of explosives at Smith's house on Bestwood Court.

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