Disneyland Employee Pleads Not Guilty to Explosion

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - A Disneyland employee accused of being responsible for explosions of two dry-ice bombs at the theme park has pleaded not guilty to felony possession of a destructive device in a public place.

Twenty-two-year-old Christian Barnes entered the plea Thursday in Orange County Superior Court. District attorney spokeswoman Farrah Emami says bail was set at $500,000.

Prosecutors say one water bottle containing dry ice exploded in his outdoor vending cart and the other bottle exploded in a trash bag that a custodian had removed from a trash can.

Barnes' father has said his son was just being silly and did not realize the severity of what might occur.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

A Disneyland employee was charged Thursday with a felony after two dry-ice bombs exploded at the theme park earlier in the week.

Christian Barnes, 22, was expected to make an initial court appearance later in the day on one felony count of possession of a destructive device in a public place, said Farrah Emami, spokeswoman for the Orange County district attorney's office.

Barnes could be held on $500,000 bail, down from a provisional bail of $1 million set immediately after his arrest.

It wasn't clear if he had retained an attorney in advance of the hearing.

Barnes' father Raymond Barnes said he did not know exactly what happened but thought his son was "just silly, not thinking" and messing around with dry ice without realizing the severity of what might occur.

"Whatever it was, there was nothing sinister about it," Barnes told KCBS-TV. "He's a good kid. Never been in any trouble."

Calls to the address Barnes shares with his father rang unanswered Wednesday and Thursday.

Barnes is a vendor in an outdoor cart at the park.

Prosecutors allege he placed dry ice in two water bottles on Tuesday to make the devices and locked one inside the vending cart. When a co-worker came to take over the cart, Barnes opened the cart and one bottle exploded, Emami said in a statement.

The second bottle was dumped in a trash can in the Toontown section of Disneyland. The bottle exploded a short time later after a janitor removed the trash bag and put it on the ground.

No one was injured in the blasts, although several bystanders reported ringing in their ears, prosecutors said.

Barnes has cooperated with investigators and told them the blast was an isolated incident with results he did not expect, said Anaheim police Sgt. Bob Dunn, who did not elaborate.

Dry-ice bombs are easy to make, and on a much smaller scale, are sometimes used as classroom chemistry demonstrations, said John Goodpaster, an explosives expert at the Purdue School of Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

The size of the explosion, however, can vary greatly depending on the container's size, material and the amount of dry ice used, he said.

The devices could cause injuries to people nearby if the built-up pressure was high enough and included flying bottle shards, he said.

"This is a simple device. It's not a pipe bomb filled with gunpowder, but it definitely will generate an explosion," Goodpaster said. "If somebody was throwing something out, they could have been injured."

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