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Rocket hobbyist gets 60 days in jail

Explosion from homemade bomb blew off his hands

BARSTOW • A rocket hobbyist who accidentally blew his hands off with a homemade bomb last year pleaded no contest to criminal charges for possessing the explosives.

It was Sunday morning, Nov. 20, 2011, when Anthony Compton, then 58, detonated a homemade bomb in the backyard of his Barstow home on the 700 block of Caliente Drive. Compton, who lost both his hands in the accident, was airlifted to Antelope Valley Hospital for treatment.

Police searched Compton’s home and said they found other bomb-making materials.

The District Attorney’s office waited seven months to charge Compton with two felony counts for possession of a destructive object and ingredients to make a destructive object.

During a pre-preliminary conference Wednesday, Compton pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge for possession of the destructive device. He chose to be sentenced immediately to 60 days in jail.

The DA’s office weighed the danger of the explosives, the extent of his injuries and the fact that the explosives were part of his hobby for building rockets, according to Supervising Deputy District Attorney Julie Peterson.

“We consulted law enforcement and conferenced the case with the judge and after all of that we concluded the appropriate disposition in this case would be a misdemeanor with probation and 60 days in jail,” Peterson said.

With good behavior Compton should be out of jail in 30 days or less. He is also forbidden from possessing or constructing any explosive, destructive or rocketry devices.

Attempts to reach Compton’s deputy public defender Thursday were unsuccessful.

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