No evidence linking former paramedic to West blaze, DA says

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Posted: Tuesday, August 6, 2013 12:01 am | Updated: 1:10 am, Tue Aug 6, 2013.

The Texas Rangers found no evidence linking a former West paramedic arrested for possession of bomb-making components three weeks after the explosion in West to the fire at the fertilizer plant that triggered the blast, McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna said
Monday.

“Based on the review I have completed thus far, I have seen no evidence linking him to the fire and subsequent explosion. But I still have additional material to review,” Reyna said.

Reed is a former West paramedic and Abbott volunteer firefighter who said he helped evacuate residents near the fertilizer plant before and after the April 17 explosion.

He remains in the Jack Harwell Detention Center after returning last month from a court-ordered six-week evaluation at a federal medical facility in Fort Worth.

Reed’s name is listed this week on U.S. District Judge Walter S. Smith Jr.’s docket for a possible guilty plea Thursday.

But his attorney, Jonathan Sibley, said Reed will not plead guilty this week and “looks forward to a trial and his day
in court.”

Sibley filed a motion Monday asking Smith to postpone the scheduled Thursday court date so he can have more time to review documents and reports in Reed’s case. The judge had not ruled on that motion by Monday evening.

Reed’s trial is set for Aug. 19 in Waco’s U.S. District Court. While Reed was under evaluation at the federal medical facility in early July, his wife, Brittany Michelle Reed, filed for divorce in Waco’s 414th State District Court.

The couple have been married since Nov. 1, 2008, and have a 3-year-old daughter, according to documents filed in the case.

Sibley said last month that he and Reed remain frustrated that neither state nor federal authorities will clear Reed from speculation that he had anything to do with starting the fire at West Fertilizer Co. that ultimately caused ammonium nitrate to explode.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Frazier declined comment Monday.

Sibley has said he thinks federal authorities arrested Reed “in a rush to judgment” to silence him from the prominent role Reed played initially as a self-
appointed spokesman for the city of West and the grieving families of those lost in the blast.

He said he thinks Reed was arrested also because he criticized the multi-agency state and federal investigation into the 
explosion.

According to court documents, Reed gave a box to an unwitting Abbott resident that contained a “possible destructive device,” leading to the possession of bomb-making components charge.

The person called the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office, which took possession of a 31/2-inch pipe and a few bags filled with chemicals, court records state.

Reed admitted having the “components of a pipe bomb,” court documents say. But Sibley said Reed “vehemently denies the 
allegations against him.”

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