Doomsday prepper found guilty of unlawful possession of explosive materials

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TOPEKA, Kan. – A Greenwood County man who had previously pleaded guilty to explosives charges was found guilty by a federal jury on one count of unlawful possession of explosive materials on Thursday. Alfred C. Dutton, 67, of Eureka, Kan. faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000 according to a release U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom’s office.

Dutton is a military veteran according to an appellate brief filed in the United States District Court of Kansas in December of 2011. In the brief he was described as a man who had been preparing for the economic collapse of the world. He had gathered a large supply on non-perishable items and had both firearms and ammunition. A storage unit that was registered to Dutton also had six glass bottles of homemade napalm, five which were fully fused and nine grenades.

A search warrant for that storage unit and his apartment was generated after a series of conversations Dutton had with his ex-wife’s boyfriend, Joe Scott. Scott often went to Dutton’s apartment to pick up a child that Dutton and his ex-wife, Sabrina, shared custody for according to the brief.

Scott said he became fearful for the safety of the child and other’s in the apartment complex after three conversations he had with Dutton in August of 2011. During the first conversation, Scott said that Dutton showed a small, cylindrical device to him and said that it was a fuse for a grenade. He claimed that he had ordered fuses off the Internet and was going to order grenade hulls and claymore mine hulls due to compatibility with the fuse.

In a second conversation days later, Scott said that Dutton had confided in him that he purchased black powder from Cabela’s website and gave him 20-foot safety fuse in the event that anything needed to be blown up. Scott became leery and went to Greenwood County Authorities. In the midst of his testimony at the Greenwood Sheriff’s Office, Scott left to pick up the minor from Dutton’s home.

When Scott returned to the sheriff’s office he said that Dutton asked him for a drill press so that he could drill and tap grenade bodies and plug them. Authorities believed at that point that Dutton had materials to make an improvised explosive device and executed search warrants on his apartment and storage unit.

Dutton appealed in 2011 to suppress evidence from the storage unit but was denied by Judge Thomas Marten. Dutton appealed again in February, 2013 and withdrew his guilty plea after he was initially sentenced in May of 2012 to 21 months in federal prison.

He testified that a search warrant of his storage unit was not supported by probable cause. He also said that he never showed Scott the fuses nor discussed building grenades with him. The defense also contended that Dutton had the explosives in question as collectibles he intended to sell. A panel of three circuit court judges reversed Marten’s order denying suppression of evidence collected from Dutton’s storage unit and remanded the case for further proceedings.

The government ultimately charged Dutton with two counts of possessing unregistered destructive devices, one based on items in the storage unit and one based on grenades found in his apartment. The search of the apartment was never in question and ultimately that charge stood with a jury finding Dutton guilty. His sentencing is set for a later date.

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