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Camp Minden explosives: Last defendant to change plea

The last suspect has told a court his plea of “not guilty” in a case in which a massive explosion at Louisiana National Guard-owned site.

Judge Elizabeth E. Foote has a scheduled change-of-plea hearing Thursday afternoon for Terry William Wright, according to a electronic minute entry Wednesday. Wright was vice-president of operations at the Explo Systems, who had an Army contract to “demilitarize” M6 artillery propellant.

Lawyer Donald E. Hathaway, Jr. was not immediately available for comment.

The police started the investigation of Explo after a 2012 explosion that shattered windows 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) away. The company went bankrupt in 2013, bringing thousands of tons of potentially explosive M6 at Camp Minden.

The prosecutors had said they would show that Wright also works similar to that which he is accused of in Louisiana, while he was vice-president of a Kansas company, Slurry Explosive Corp., from 2000 to 2002. Slurry Explosives pleaded guilty in 2006 to save 1,685 tons (1,530 tons) of explosives and blasting agents when it had a licence for the storage of a total of 45 tons (41 tonnes). Under a plea agreement, no individuals have been charged and the company pled guilty to a charge in a bill of information.

Explo co-owner David Alan Smith of Winchester, Kentucky, and three company officials have pleaded guilty, agreeing to testify for the prosecution. The second co-owner, David Fincher of Burns, Tennessee, died on 2 June, two days before he, Wright, and Charles Ferris Callihan were scheduled for the process.

The process was postponed with a week, and put off again after Callihan, director of assistive technology, pleaded guilty Friday to a reduced charge that is not in the original indictment.

As vice-president, Wright oversaw the day-to-day demilitarization activities at the Explo, and also looking for buyers for the recovered M6 and smokeless igniter, according to the indictment.

He was indicted on one count of conspiracy, 23 the making of false statements, and six of the wire fraud.

The conspiracy count alleges that he and others caused improper and unsafe storage of M6 and hazardous waste, prevented federal inspections, and falsified forms of alleged buyers.

The false statement is declared to be valid that he and others falsified 23 forms certifying purchases of about 9,100 tonnes of M6; the wire fraud charges involving six e-mails to send these forms.

Smith was indicted on more charges than Fincher and Wright, but pleaded guilty in December for every one count of conspiracy and making false statements. His possible return total was given as $ 35.4 million. That includes an amount of $8.7 million in contract losses plus the costs of cleaning after an October 2012 explosion at Camp Minden, a Deputy Procurator of the V. S. Alexander Van Hook said in a statement at the time.

Smith is scheduled for sentencing July 31. Callihan, Kenneth Lampkin, the company of the program manager and inventory control officer Lionel Koons is scheduled for sentencing Aug. 30.

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