The 16-year-old student facing an attempted-murder charge in connection with the pipe bomb left at Lafayette's Centaurus High School last week previously had been investigated for suspected bomb-making and, a friend told police, considered himself a "dormant terrorist."
Andrew de Bartolome -- who the Daily Camera is now identifying because he is being prosecuted as an adult -- was charged Friday with single felony counts of first-degree attempted murder, use of explosives and possession of an explosive or incendiary device, plus two counts of felony menacing.
Boulder County prosecutors said evidence showed de Bartolome had a "long-term interest in explosive devices."
"There were steps being taken for a larger plan," prosecutor Peggy Jessel told Boulder County Judge Ingrid Bakke. "He poses a threat."
Newly released court records reveal that de Bartolome was investigated for potential bomb-making in February after his parents contacted the Boulder County Sheriff's Office with concerns that their son was creating explosives in his room.
In that investigation, according to an arrest affidavit, sheriff's officials found "many electronic items taken apart, spare wires, empty bullet casings... Estes Rocket motors and fireworks" in de Bartolome's room -- though no action was taken.
"Looking at the home, they didn't see anything concerning at the time," sheriff's Cmdr. Rick Brough said Friday.
According to a sheriff's report, the investigating detective noted that he "did not find any significant evidence that showed Andrew was deliberately trying to create large explosive devices."
The teen's mother told authorities at the time that de Bartolome was a "tinkerer" and wanted to go into counter-terrorism with the British special forces. De Bartolome has dual U.S.-British citizenship, according to court records.
One of de Bartolome's friends told investigators in an interview that de Bartolome considered himself a "dormant terrorist," and had "anti-nationalistic views," according to the affidavit. He said de Bartolome was obsessed with terrorism and dreamed of giving up his citizenship and going overseas to start a militia.
But in court Friday, Jim Kennedy, de Bartolome's attorney, painted a much different picture of the teen and filed a motion to have the case transferred back to juvenile court.
"He's a 16-year-old boy who's never been in trouble," Kennedy said. "He's a bright, caring young man. No one was hurt."
De Bartolome is being held on $100,000 bond, though prosecutors had asked the judge to set bond at $750,000.
'Tick Tock Bomb'
According to court documents, Centaurus teachers found the device in a hallway May 13 inside a brown paper bag with a note reading, "Tick Tock Bomb." Officials said the device had a 9-volt battery and could have hurt those in close proximity had it exploded.
Those teachers took the bag into a classroom and showed it to other instructors, who then took it outside and called police. Centaurus was evacuated and the device was detonated by the Boulder County bomb squad away from the school a few hours later.
Nobody was injured.
After the incident, according to an arrest affidavit, a teacher told police de Bartolome was behaving suspiciously before the bomb was found. The teacher -- whose classroom is near where the device was discovered -- said de Bartolome went on a bathroom break but returned within two minutes, which she said was unusual.
The night after the incident at Centaurus, de Bartolome -- identified because of the previous investigation by the sheriff's office -- was questioned about the device, but initially denied knowing anything about it, according to court records. He eventually admitted that he placed the explosive device at Centaurus, according to the affidavit, but said the battery was dead, so he believed the device would not go off.
The teen told police he left the device at Centaurus after a friend dared him, according to court records.
De Bartolome was arrested at his house, and police found further evidence -- including rocket parts and an aerial picture of the school -- that they say linked him to the explosive device discovered at Centaurus.
On Thursday, investigators from the Lafayette Police Department, the FBI and Boulder County's bomb squad spent more than seven hours searching the de Bartolome family's home on Valhalla Drive in Boulder and the surrounding neighborhood.
Officials did not say what they were looking for, but neighbors reported that investigators asked them whether they had seen or heard anything they deemed suspicious coming from the area of a nearby pasture. According to court records, de Bartolome may have set off previous pipe bombs in the pasture.
Charged as an adult
Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett said of the estimated 600 juvenile defendants his office prosecutes every year, only about five are ever charged as adults.
"We look at a number of issues including the nature of what's alleged to have happened and whether the juvenile system is equipped to handle what would be presented by a specific case or if it is more appropriate for the adult system," Garnett said.
A preliminary hearing has been set for Aug. 1, when a judge will have the chance to consider whether the case should continue in Boulder District Court or be sent back to juvenile court.
"If I'm going to file adult charges on a juvenile, I think it is appropriate I be expected to lay that out in front of a judge at a hearing," Garnett said. "That will all be laid out at the hearing."
While he is being charged as an adult, de Bartolome will remain in juvenile detention while in custody.
If he makes bond, Kennedy said de Bartolome will be enrolled in a wilderness rehabilitation program for troubled teens in Utah.
Jessel, the prosecutor, expressed concern about de Bartolome being in the program, saying the teen had run away from home twice before.
Judge Bakke ordered that de Bartolome must be supervised at all times during the program, and that camp staff will submit reports every 30 days. He also will have to report to court within 48 hours of returning to Colorado from the camp.
Per the terms of his bond, Bakke also ruled authorities will have permission to search de Bartolome's house while he is out on bond for any evidence of explosives, and he will not be allowed to go near any schools.
Kennedy and de Bartolome's parents left the courtroom without commenting on the case.