The suspect in the fire and small explosion at the Davie Poplar tree on the UNC campus last month was released from prison on bail and into the custody of his parents on Monday.
Multiple outlets are reporting that District Court Judge Beverly Scarlett raised the bond of 25-year-old Joshua Daniel Edwards from a $200,000 secured bond to $1 million unsecured before his bail was posted.
Edwards is charged with malicious use of explosives to inflict injury, malicious use of explosives to damage property, assembling a weapon of mass destruction, setting fire to grass/grassland, assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury and filing a false police report. All of the charges are felonies.
If Edwards is convicted of the most severe crime, assistant district attorney Jeff Nieman said, Edwards would be required to serve some jail time.
Edwards was allowed to be released to his family under the stipulation he is receiving mental health treatment while out of custody, among other provisions.
After the explosion, UNC Police alerted Carrboro Police that Edwards’ vehicle was parked in Carrboro and could contain other dangerous material, which caused several downtown blocks to be closed. After further investigation, including assistance from the Durham County Sheriff’s Office bomb squad, no further danger was found.
A UNC professor was trying to stamp out the fire when the small explosion occurred. The professor has been receiving treatment at UNC Hospitals for burns sustained in the explosion.
The professor hurt by the blaze – Dan Reichart – has undergone surgery and has now established a fundraising campaign hoping to raise money for cancer awareness and prevention. Reichart is unable to return to his role as a professor until the spring due to health hazards.