Friday, September 22, 2023

Man in Mirror Lake pipe bomb incident to remain hospitalized for treatment

Adam Helms, 30, was arrested on Friday in connection to the two explosive devices found in Mirror Lakes. (WYDaily/Courtesy VPRJ)
Adam Helms, 30, was arrested in March in connection with two explosive devices found in Mirror Lakes. (WYDaily/Courtesy VPRJ)

A 31-year-old Williamsburg man accused of assembling pipe bombs earlier this year and keeping them in the trunk of his car in the Mirror Lakes subdivision will remain in a hospital for at least the next year.

Adam Helms was found not guilty by reason of insanity of manufacturing, possessing or using fire bombs or an explosive device, according to Williamsburg-James City County Circuit Court papers.

Helms entered into a plea deal with prosecutors in the case, which was accepted by a circuit court judge July 31.

On Sept. 29, Helms reappeared in court for a case review to determine whether he needed to remain in custody for additional treatment or could be released with — or without — conditions.

“The Court found him in need of continued hospitalization, a conclusion that was not disputed by the defendant or the Commonwealth,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Nate Green wrote in an email.

Helms is scheduled for another case review Sept. 16, 2020.

Green said the court will review what progress Helms has made during the year of treatment.

As part of the plea deal, prosecutors filed a proffer of the facts in the case detailing the March 22 incident.

James City County Emergency Communications received a call from Helms’s Colonial Services Board case worker on March 22. The case worker told dispatchers her client, Helms, had told her one day earlier that there was a bomb in his car.

After receiving the call, James City County Assistant Fire Marshal Michelle Toutaint “promptly” began investigating the case and went to Helms’ home on Loch Haven Drive in Mirror Lakes.

Helms agreed to speak with Toutaint and an accompanying police sergeant, and “readily acknowledged” he told the case worker he had a pipe bomb in his car, according to court papers.

Court documents also indicated Helms said he was going to blow the device up in the woods behind Mirror Lakes. He said he made it himself and had all the ingredients in his house.

In Helms’s garage, investigators saw a box where Helms said he kept additional pipe, as well as sulfur, stump remover and a bag of charcoal.

Helms showed investigators a roll of green fuse he kept in his bedroom.

At that time, he he was taken into custody.

Investigators then went to get search warrants and later returned to the scene. They then worked to “disrupt” the two explosive devices found in the trunk of the car.

Toutaint later questioned Helms further at the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail. 

During the questioning, Helms said he was looking for a place to detonate the pipe bomb, but everywhere he considered was “too close” to fire departments or police stations.

“He said he did not want to hurt anyone but wanted to detonate the bomb so he could go to jail and not a mental health hospital,” documents read.

Helms was previously charged with possession of a firearm by a person previously admitted to a mental health facility.

The U.S. Department of Justice Forensic Science Laboratory in Ammendale, Maryland tested the device in May and found an explosive mixture of materials, although the powder burned “poorly” when exposed to a flame, the report reads.

“Or, as Assistant Fire Marshall [sic] Toutaint summarized for me, it was not a very good bomb,” the proffer of facts reads.

Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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