Easthampton man pleads not guilty to 61 counts in bomb-making case, held on $150,000 bail



Published: 05-09-2017 10:43 PM

NORTHAMPTON — An Easthampton man accused of manufacturing explosives and explosive devices was ordered held on $150,000 bail Tuesday. 

Bryan O. Desmarais, 42, of 36 Ridgewood Terrace, pleaded not guilty in Hampshire Superior Court Tuesday afternoon to 61 charges stemming from February incidents in which police said he placed and set-off explosives in Easthampton’s mill district. 

Desmarais is charged with 10 counts of unlawful secreting or placing of an incendiary device, nine counts of unlawful explosion of a destructive or incendiary device, single counts of attempted unlawful explosion of a destructive or incendiary device, attempted possession of a large-capacity weapon, attempted possession of a machine gun and unlawful possession of an incendiary device or material, as well as 38 counts of unlawful possession of a large-capacity feeding device.

Desmarais was arrested Feb. 16 and pleaded not guilty the following day in Northampton District Court on charges of possession of ammunition without a license, possession or control of an incendiary device, possession of explosives, and throwing, placing or exploding explosives.

A multi-agency investigation into Desmarais began on Feb. 5 when Easthampton Police received reports of multiple explosions by Lower Mill Pond. Investigators found nine detonated explosive devices as well as one unexploded device along the pond’s southerly bank.

Easthampton Police, Massachusetts State Police and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives later executed a search warrant at 142 Pleasant St., Suite 104A, which Desmarais rented for his fishing lure business, Bustin’ Bass Baits. In the suite, investigators found a large amount of explosives and materials, police said.

Desmarais is currently being held in the Franklin County Jail and House of Correction. He has been in custody since February when his attorney Alan Rubin and a prosecutor agreed to waive a dangerousness hearing and to automatically hold him without the right to bail.

Rubin told Judge John Agostini Tuesday that it was unlikely Desmarais would be able to make bail.

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His next court date is scheduled for August.

Emily Cutts can be reached at ecutts@gazettenet.com.