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September 25, 2021

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The timeline of events in the case of accused mailbox bomber

A timeline in the mailbox bombings case in which Luke Helder is charged:


MAY 3, 2002

-Eight pipe bombs found in roadside mailboxes near Iowa towns of Eldridge, Farley, Asbury, Tipton and Anamosa and the Illinois towns of Mount Carroll, Morrison and Elizabeth. Six bombs explode, injuring four mail carriers and two residents. Notes containing anti-goverment phrases are found with some of the bombs.

MAY 4, 2002

-Six pipe bombs found in mailboxes near small towns in Nebraska. None explode. Similar notes are found.

MAY 5, 2002

-Pipe bomb found in a mailbox near Albion, Neb.; the device doesn't explode.

MAY 6, 2002

-Pipe bombs found in mailboxes near Hastings, Neb., and Salida, Colo.; none explodes. Device found in mailbox in Amarillo, Texas, described as similar to the others.

MAY 7, 2002

-FBI issues all-points bulletin for 21-year-old college student Luke J. Helder of Pine Island, Minn., after Helder's father receives a letter referring to the bombings. A motorist on Interstate 80 spots Helder's car and notifies authorities. Helder arrested 50 miles east of Reno, Nev. He tells authorities he was trying to make a "smiley face" pattern on the map.

MAY 8, 2002

-Helder meets with parents in a Reno jail.

MAY 10, 2002

-Helder flown to Iowa, makes initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids, taken to Linn County Jail.

JUNE 5, 2002

-Federal grand jury indicts Helder on charges of using an explosive to damage personal property that resulted in injury to a person and possession of a pipe bomb during a federal crime.

JUNE 7, 2002

-Helder pleads innocent during a 10-minute appearance before a federal magistrate in Cedar Rapids. Trial set for Sept. 16, 2002.

JUNE 28, 2002

-Televisions stations in the Cedar Rapids area turn over all tapes related to the Helder case in response to a federal subpoena.

JULY 16, 2002

-Judge grants Helder a delay, moving trial to Nov. 18, 2002.

AUG. 16, 2002

-Helder's attorney, Public Defender Jane Kelly, files a notice that Helder plans an insanity defense.

SEPT. 24, 2002

-Judge grants delay, moving trial to April 14, 2003.

OCT. 18, 2002

-Prosecutors ask permission to hire experts to conduct mental evaluation.

FEB. 11, 2003

-Prosecutors and defense attorney file joint motion to delay trial.

FEB. 18, 2003

-Helder taken to Federal Medical Center in Rochester, Minn., for psychiatric evaluation.

APRIL 1, 2003

-Helder trial postponed indefinitely.

MAY 19, 2003

-Judge extends Helder's psychiatric evaluation period by four months.

SEPT. 23, 2003

-Judge extends Helder's psychiatric evaluation period by four months.

FEB. 13, 2004

-Judge gives prosecutors six additional weeks to review Helder's medical records and seek competency hearing for Helder.

APRIL 1, 2004

-Judge declares Helder incompetent to stand trial.