Bipolar man charged in Boston bomb hoax

PAIGE SUTHERLAND
Last updated 04:53 17/04/2014
sarahsfrench/Instagram.com

Instagram video shows the shoeless man running through the streets, yelling.

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The man arrested near the Boston Marathon finish line carrying a backpack containing a rice cooker on the anniversary of the bombings was sent to a state psychiatric facility for an evaluation on Wednesday (local time) following his initial court appearance.

Kevin "Kayvon" Edson, 25, was sent to Bridgewater State Hospital and ordered held on US$100,000 bail at an appearance in Boston Municipal Court on charges of threatening battery, possession of a hoax explosive device, threats to commit a crime, disturbing the peace, disturbing a public assembly and disorderly conduct. His next court date was scheduled for May 7.

Edson's arrest occurred hours after ceremonies to mark last year's Boston Marathon bombings, in which two pressure cooker bombs hidden in backpacks exploded, killing three people near the finish line and injuring more than 260 others.

Edson, with addresses in Boston and Wakefield, was stopped late Tuesday (local time) after passers-by told an officer they saw him yelling, walking barefoot down the middle of a street, veiled in black, in pouring rain. His face was painted yellow and blue, the traditional colors of the marathon, police said. The street was open to pedestrians at the time, and police said his presence was not a security breach.

The backpack was destroyed. Police determined that the bag's contents were not explosive.

According to a police report read aloud in court, after Edson was read his rights, he told an officer: "I knew what I was doing, it was conceived in my head. It's symbolism, come on. The performance got the best of me."

Edson's mother, Joie Edson, said her son has bipolar disorder.

Parsons The New School for Design and the Fashion Institute of Technology, both in New York City, confirmed that Edson had taken classes at their schools but never graduated. The Massachusetts College of Art and Design posted a statement on its website saying that an undergraduate student had been arrested by police and the school was cooperating with authorities, but it did not mention Edson by name.

A second suspicious backpack also was found. Officers determined it had been left behind by a media outlet and was not dangerous, but it too was destroyed.

The backpacks rattled nerves days ahead of this year's marathon. Police kept people away from the finish line area for about three hours and trains bypassed the nearby Copley Square station.

"With the marathon coming, our officers are taking it seriously," police Superintendent Randall Halstead said. "The safety of the public is utmost."

Earlier Tuesday (Wednesday, NZ time), survivors, first responders and family members earlier marked the one-year anniversary of the bombing with a ceremony attended by Vice President Joe Biden.

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- AP

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