Local News

Request to lower UNC tree explosion suspect's bond denied

Posted November 22, 2017 3:24 p.m. EST
Updated November 22, 2017 6:58 p.m. EST

— A Superior Court judge on Wednesday rejected a request to lower the $200,000 bond for the UNC tree explosion suspect.

Joshua Daniel Edwards, 24, is charged with six felonies in the burning of the Davie-Poplar tree on UNC-Chapel Hill campus earlier this month, an incident that left a university with injuries.

Edwards is charged with malicious use of explosives to inflict injury, malicious use of explosives to damage property, assembling a weapon of mass destruction, setting fire to grass or a grassland, assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury and filing a false police report.

Edwards' attorney said her client may have acted as a result of "psychosis." She asked for his bond to be reduced so that his family could have him treated at a mental illness facility near his home in Davidson County.

Prosecutors argued, however, that Edwards is a danger to the public, and perhaps himself. The judge said she is open to reconsidering her decision once she sees an individualized plan for his mental health treatment.

Authorities said a small device detonated on November 2 at the Davie Poplar tree, which was planted when UNC-Chapel Hill was founded. Police later searched a vehicle in Carrboro they believe belonged to Edwards but didn't find anything dangerous.

Professor Dan Reichart, who tried to put out the fire at the base of the tree, suffered burns on on his face and arms when the explosion caused a fireball to erupt around him.

Reichart said he was walking across McCorkle Place on campus when he saw the fire at the base of Davie Poplar.