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Monday, December 18 News

Rocker 'bomb' threat dismissed as Fairfielder is allowed to take back gun collection

It's all right now.

After the discovery of a cache of chemicals and guns at a Bronson Road home last October triggered hype about a possible threat to rocker Keith Richards, proceedings Tuesday at Bridgeport Superior Court laid the case to rest.

As a result, the property owner, chemist Joseph Callahan, was allowed to take possession of his large collection of guns that had been confiscated in the immediate wake of the incident. The vats of dangerous chemicals and the 100-plus explosive devices taken from Callahan's home, however, will not be returned.

"He is a delightful man and was never a danger to anyone," said Callahan's lawyer, Richard Meehan. He said a box truck was rented to pick up all the guns.

State's Attorney John Smriga said he agreed to the return of the guns after being assured Callahan did not pose a danger.

"I am satisfied the weapons are mainly sporting arms and that the ammunition is appropriate for that use," the prosecutor said.

Superior Court Judge Robert Devlin ordered the 69-year-old Callahan to return to court June 5. He is expected to be granted accelerated rehabilitation, a pretrial probation program for non-violent first offenders that would lead to the charges against him being erased.

Meehan said his client had undergone counseling with a forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Vladimir Coric, and was given a clean bill of health.

In October, Fairfield police found 142 guns, more than 100 explosive devices and vats of chemicals used to make bombs in at Callahan's property at 1625 Bronson Road. Police said Callahan also turned over a "bomb" he said he made for Keith Richards, of the Rolling Stones.

He was charged with 112 counts of illegal possession of explosives, six counts of first-degree reckless endangerment and one count of manufacture of bombs.

The story garnered international attention, as fans questioned whether the "bomb" was made on the rocker's behalf, or if Keith Richards was its target. Meehan said the rocker had never been in danger.

"A friend of Mr. Callahan nine years ago met Keith Richards, and he (Callahan) knew Keith Richards liked pyrotechnics, so he built this device in the event he met Keith Richards," Meehan said.

Police had initially been called to Callahan's home by his ex-wife, who said she was concerned about his well-being. They returned a short time later after Callahan called police to claim someone had stolen his checkbook.

While searching the garage, police said they asked Callahan to identify some of the hundreds of pounds of chemicals in drums there.

"That's the chemical used in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing," police said he told them, naming ammonium nitrate.

Other chemicals turned out to be the type used in the Oklahoma City federal building bombing. Police said Callahan told them about how he liked to build rockets and had detonation cords in his house, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

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Meehan said the vats of chemicals were filled with aviation fuel from Callahan's airplane and materials used by him for his model rocketry hobby.

"None of the substances were illegal to possess," he said.