Explosive situation

The Observer-Reporter/February 14, 2003
By Heidi Price and Kathie Warco

An Amwell Township man with ties to the Ku Klux Klan was arrested Thursday and charged with trying to purchase hand grenades to blow up an abortion clinic.

David Wayne Hull, 40, of 425 Shipe Run Road, was arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ervin S. Swearingen in federal court in Pittsburgh on a charge of unlawful possession, transfer and manufacture of a firearm, specifically a destructive device. Hull also is accused of building a homemade pipe bomb, according to the criminal complaint unsealed Thursday by Swearingen.

According to the complaint, FBI agents in Philadelphia were able to penetrate a group of individuals, including Hull, after recruiting a cooperative witness.

On Nov. 19, the witness drove from Philadelphia to Washington to meet Hull for lunch at a nearby truck stop. During that meeting, Hull told the witness he wanted to purchase 10 hand grenades.

The witness said the grenades cost $200 apiece, and Hull said he could purchase only five and expected delivery in February, the complaint states.

During the meeting, Hull said he "sent two guys to retrieve the two bombs that he buried on state gamelands" and that they would all meet back at Hull's home. The two left the truck stop and drove to Hull's home. During the drive, Hull told the witness he was "going to blow up abortion clinics," the complaint states.

Hull initially stated he wanted to cause property destruction, according to the complaint. During a discussion that people might be present, Hull responded, "If they're there, they are killers or a woman killing a fetus; either way, (expletive) 'em," the complaint states.

He also allegedly told the witness that a woman was trying to get blasting caps from miners for him.

When Hull and the witness arrived at Hull's home, he had a message on his answering machine from the two men who stated that they failed to retrieve the bombs from the gameland. Hull gathered materials to make a pipe bomb and provided assembly instructions to the witness, court records state.

Hull gave the pipe bomb materials to the witness and said they were free, in exchange for a cell phone. He also said he would transport the two bombs to Lancaster in a week or two.

On Jan. 14, the witness received a package in the mail containing a fuse for the pipe bomb and a "Knight Watch" newsletter, the complaint states.

A warrant was issued for Hull's arrest after the pipe bomb materials were analyzed and found to contain explosive materials.

State police Lt. Richard Sethman said Hull is known to be a member of the Ku Klux Klan and at one time may have been an officer in the organization.

Bettysue Feuer, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League office in Cleveland, said Thursday that Hull is leader of the White Knights of Pennsylvania. ADL tracks white supremacist groups, among other activities.

Hull has an extensive police record dating to 1994.

In 1998, he was charged with attempted homicide in the 1997 shooting of a Claysville man. He pleaded guilty to aggravated assault. Information on his sentence in the case was not immediately available. Hull also was charged with retaliation against a victim, terroristic threats and disorderly conduct stemming from that case.

In 1998, he pleaded guilty to harassment after threatening a woman and was sentenced to 7 days to 12 months in Washington County Jail. In 1996, he pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property.

On Thursday afternoon, wind whipped a Confederate flag flying on Hull's property as task force members continued their search of his rural home.

FBI spokesman William Crawley said Hull was arrested Thursday morning at a truck stop in Eighty Four by members of the joint terrorism task force, made up of federal, state and local law enforcement officials. Crawley said he did not know if the bombs allegedly buried in the gamelands had been retrieved.

Before entering Swearingen's courtroom, Hull bent over and removed a handkerchief bearing a Confederate flag design that had been tied around his head.

During his arraignment, Hull told Swearingen that he was divorced and had three children, one of whom still lives with him. Hull said he was not employed but owns half the farm where he lives. His ex-wife owns the other half, Hull added. Hull said he hadn't been employed within the last year but received about $750 a month for disability.

Swearingen appointed an attorney to represent Hull. The federal magistrate also denied Hull bond but said he could request a detention hearing.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. today.

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