A 42-year-old man from Washington, DC, who was arrested in August after setting a large detonation at a bingo hall in Brooklyn Park, is facing up to 25 years in jail and $250,000 in fines after pleading guilty to using a destructive device.
Guilty to Destructive Device Charge
Andre Richardson, who faced 14 charges for the July explosion at Bingo World, submitted his one-count plea to Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Stacy McCormack. Just four days before his jury trial is set to begin, Richardson pleaded guilty to one felony destructive device charge, reported The Capital Gazette.
The investigation following the explosion, which sent two people to the emergency room, left six others with minor injuries and destroyed three electronic bingo machines, identified Richardson as the one setting up the device using the bingo hall’s security footage.
His presence at Bingo World at the time of the blast was also confirmed by several employees who had seen him throughout the evening and while withdrawing money at the cashier desk. Richardson was wearing a T-shirt for a local moving company and gold-rimmed glasses.
After placing an item between two bingo slot machines, Richardson made several attempts to set the device on fire and when he finally succeeded, he stood up and walked away. A plume of smoke appeared followed by a large explosion that sent shrapnel more than 30 feet across.
He faced a total of 14 counts of which 12 were misdemeanors, including attempted first-degree arson, second-degree assault and reckless endangerment, and was refused bail by Anne Arundel Circuit Judge Glenn L. Klavens, who ordered he remained in police custody in October, considering him as presenting an extreme threat to public safety.
Setting off a Firecracker in a Casino
By that time his defense attorney claimed his client “had a momentary lapse of judgment and set off a firecracker in a casino,” while Richardson stated that he wanted to go home to his children and grandchildren as he was not a threat to the public safety.
Following his submission pleading guilty to one count of destructive device charge last week, Richardson will have to wait until July 13 when his sentencing hearing in Circuit Court is scheduled for. He could receive a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison and up to a quarter million in fines.