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Feds take over
case of student who threatened to bomb Falwell's funeral

Feds take over
case of student who threatened to bomb Falwell's funeral

The case against a Liberty University student who police say told his family he made bombs and planned to attend the Reverend Jerry Falwell's funeral was transferred to federal authorities in Roanoke, Va., Wednesday.

U.S. magistrate judge Michael Urbanski ordered Mark David Uhl, 19, held in the Roanoke city jail until detention and preliminary hearings are scheduled. His attorney was unable to attend Wednesday's hearing and could not be reached Wednesday evening.

Uhl faces one charge of possession of an unlawful destructive device. A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office would not say why the case was transferred from local officials in Campbell County, Va., where sheriff's officers arrested him Monday night.

Uhl, of Amissville, Va., said little in court Wednesday. Authorities have not been able to determine why the bombs were made or what they were to be used for.

A relative of Uhl's tipped off authorities, who found five red cylinders in a metal cookie tin in the trunk of Uhl's car. According to the federal criminal complaint, Virginia State Police agents described each as ''a homemade napalm explosive device.''

Campbell investigators determined that Uhl had problems with a group that sent about a dozen members to stage a protest across the street from the church where Falwell's funeral was held. A group from the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church--a group that has protested at soldiers' funerals--claimed Falwell was a friend of gays, despite Falwell's consistent condemnation of homosexuality.

A half-dozen students at Liberty University, which Falwell founded, staged a counterprotest, but it isn't clear whether Uhl was involved.

Fauquier County authorities were interviewing several people but had no search warrants, Maj. Paul Mercer said Wednesday. Two people whom authorities wanted to question had been in a high school military training program with Uhl, but they are in the Army and no longer in Fauquier, he said. (Sue Lindsey, AP)

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