Mark Weaver will not be allowed to return to Petersburg within the next five years, and he says he has no intention of ever going back.
The 60-year-old former Petersburg resident was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to pay a 10-thousand dollar fine during a Monday hearing in U-S District Court in Juneau. Weaver was also ordered to follow through with mental health counseling and treatment while he serves out his probation at his new home in Hawaii.
Weaver was charged with two counts of possessing an explosive device after he was injured during a July 2014 explosion in a Petersburg rock pit. Both Weaver and his attorney Phillip Paul Wiedner explained in court on Monday that Weaver intended to kill himself with a device made from explosives and other components found in his shop. Wiedner said Weaver had no intention of hurting anyone else since he went to the rock pit to detonate the explosives. Just weeks before the explosion, Weaver’s wife filed for divorce.
U-S District Court Judge Timothy Burgess expressed concern that more jail time would interrupt Weaver’s mental health treatment. He accepted the plea agreement which included dismissal of a second explosives charge. But he imposed a condition of probation that prohibits his return to Petersburg or contacting anyone there before 2020.
In return for the guilty plea on one count, prosecutors agreed to dismiss that second count of possessing an unregistered destructive device, namely seven hollowed out World War II style hand grenade hulls, found on Weaver’s property.
A psychiatrist treating Weaver wrote that he is making progress in his treatment for mental health issues and she did not consider him a threat to others. Weaver’s attorney asked the judge to sentence him only to the jail time he has served, nearly six months. Guidelines for the crime suggested a sentence of between 27 and 33 months of jail time, according to a pre-sentencing report filed by prosecutors. The government’s attorneys agreed that he did not appear to intend to harm others. They sought a continuation of his mental health treatment and asked he not be allowed to return to Petersburg, while recommending that he also be fined for the offense.
The explosion last July raised fears in the community that the local businessman was trying to hurt others. A decade before Weaver was sentenced to jail on assault charges for abusing his wife and threatening her and her brother.
Weaver is building a coffee farm in Kona and still receiving medical treatment for his injuries from the blast. The explosion was felt around town last July. Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms detonated another 50 pounds of the commercial explosives along with smokeless powder found on Weaver’s property.