Hearing delayed for suspect in Williamsburg blast

Contact Reporterjlarouejr@vagazette.com

A hearing to determine the mental status of a Gloucester man accused of detonating an improvised explosive device in the parking lot between Berret’s Seafood Restaurant and Taphouse Grill and Williams-Sonoma was continued Thursday in Williamsburg-James City County General District Court.

Assistant commonwealth’s attorney Cathy Black asked the court to delay a ruling on the mental health evaluation of Stephen James Powers, the man arrested in connection with the downtown blast, which took place Oct. 19. She said she learned new information in the past week that could affect his mental status determination.

“They may impact his claim of loss of memory,” Black said in court.

Black did not go into detail about the new information, but said that it did not concern Powers’ medical records. She also said the information she received about Powers was about six-to-seven pages long.

Defense attorney John Konstantinou said in court that it would be useful for Powers’ mental health evaluation to include Powers’ parents, but at this point, Powers has not signed the waivers to allow it.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Williamsburg-James City County General District Court, police believe the device used in the detonation was a pipe bomb.

Powers, 30, of Hayes, was denied bond in an Oct. 23 hearing in General District Court.

Powers had been a maintenance worker for Colonial Williamsburg for more than two years prior to the incident, court documents state.

Powers has been charged with the possession and use of an explosive device and committing an act of terrorism following the detonation of an improvised explosive device, as well as providing false information to police.

A new hearing is scheduled for 8 a.m. Dec. 21 in General District Court.

LaRoue can be reached by phone at 757-345-2342, by email at jlarouejr@vagazette.com or on Twitter @jlaroue.

Copyright © 2018, The Virginia Gazette