Kevin Edson was arrested on Tuesday after Boston police spotted him walking barefoot in the rain and carrying a backpack near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
Edson was taken into custody shortly after admitting to police that his bag contained a rice cooker. Two pressurized cookers were used in the original Boston Marathon Bombings. A witness said that Edson described the item as a "prop".
Though the 25-year-old was initially thought to be behind a second bag found near the scene, this was deemed untrue. The other bag was filled with equipment that belonged to a media outlet.
Both bags were detonated by police as a matter of precaution.
There are reports that the rice cooker being carried by the suspect was filled with confetti.
— Yahoo News (@YahooNews) April 16, 2014
In court on Wednesday, the suspect pleaded not guilty to charges that include possessing a hoax device and making a false bomb threat. During his arraignment, Edson was ordered to be sent to a state psychiatric facility for evaluation.
Depending on the outcome of the evaluation, there's a good chance the prosecution will aim for the maximum. This is bad news for the self-proclaimed “performance artist”.
If Edson were to be convicted of the charges against him, he could be sent to jail for upwards of 20 years.
When it comes to a hoax if this nature, the punishment is often about as serious as if the threat were real. This is likely because of the mental and emotional harm done to citizens. Even if the threat is “false”, it is still a form of terrorism.
As tolerance for such emotional terrorism is at an all time low, persons who act out in such away face stiff punishments.
— Evan Allen (@EvanMAllen) April 16, 2014
Kevin Edson pleas not guilty. Allegedly told PD "I KNEW WHAT I WAS DOING...IT WAS SYMBOLISM THE PERFORMANCE GOT THE BEST OF ME."" #fox25
— Crystal Haynes (@crystalhaynes) April 16, 2014
Following his arrest, Edson's family released a statement to the press:
Our son Kevin has been battling mental issues for several years. His illness has caused himself and our family years of anguish that is unimaginable. His multiple mental health issues, including the diagnosis of BiPolar Disorder, are a constant battle realized by multiple hospitalizations and close psychiatric treatment. Kevin is currently a college student and has not been living at home for several months. Unfortunately his mental health has deteriorated recently.