SALEM, Ore. - A private fire and explosion analyst said Wednesday that Oregon State Police bomb technician Bill Hakim, who was killed while trying to dismantle a device he thought was a hoax inside a Woodburn bank, caused the bomb to detonate.
“To call it a hoax device when it’s not, then start beating on it with a hammer and crowbar – don’t do that!” Patrick Kennedy said.
But he called Hakim a hero.
“I don’t enjoy sitting up here blaming Trooper Hakim, who’s a hero, for this event. But he made a mistake,” he said.
Kennedy was the final witness to testify in Bruce Turnidge’s defense before attorneys for both he and his son, Josh, rested in the Woodburn bank bombing trial.
Closing arguments are scheduled for next week. The jury will be given instructions and then it will begin deliberating.
Bruce and Josh Turnidge are on trial for aggravated murder after being accused of building and planting a bomb outside the West Coast Bank in December 2008 that exploded, killing two law enforcement officers and maiming a third.
West Coast Bank employee Laurie Perkett was also called to the stand Wednesday to retell the story of how she watched Hakim hammer at the lid of the bomb.
“What happened immediately after he said, ‘There, I got it,’” a prosecutor asked her.
“I just turned a quarter turn and it went off,” she said.
Prosecutors need jurors to believe Bruce and Josh Turnidge planted the device outside the bank with the intention of killing people.
ATF agent, Brennan Phillips, was called on cross-examination by prosecutors to explain how the bomb was designed to be lethal.
“Looking at the device, the construction of the device, the placement of the device, it is a weapon,” he said.
Government bomb experts believe the bomb was detonated by a stray radio frequency and that it was not set off by Hakim who’d carried the bomb inside the bank and hammered on its lid.
“Trooper Hakim’s actions, his mistakes set this off,” Kennedy testified. “There is no evidence of any kind that a CB signal had the capabilities of setting this off or set it off.”
Bruce and Josh Turnidge face the death penalty if found guilty of aggravated murder charges.
In addition to Hakim, Woodburn police Capt. Tom Tennant was killed when the bomb exploded. Police Chief Scott Russell lost a leg.