APNewsBreak: Atty. Seeks Fireworks In Mosque Plot

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) - The attorney for a California man accused of planning to attack a Michigan mosque said Thursday that he wants the fireworks police say he was carrying at the time of his arrest to be produced as evidence to prove his client did not intend to blow up the building.

Matthew Evans told The Associated Press he filed a subpoena requesting that the fireworks the officers say they found in 63-year-old Roger Stockham's car last month be brought to his preliminary examination Friday in Dearborn's district court.

Evans said he's challenging the charges of making a false report or threat of terrorism, and possessing explosives with an unlawful intent.

"There's no intent here . to blow up any mosque," Evans said. "The evidence will be clear."

Assistant prosecuting attorney Khalid Najar said he plans to object to the request, saying it's not proper procedure at a hearing to determine whether there is probable cause to try Stockham. Najar said the amount and power of the fireworks aren't central to the prosecution's case.

"The charge is commutation of the threat of terrorism," Najar said. "Whatever the amount of the explosives is not an issue in this case."

Stockham of Imperial Beach, Calif., was arrested near the Islamic Center of America during a Jan. 24 traffic stop. Police say he was wearing a ski mask and had more than two dozen fireworks, including M-80s, which are illegal in Michigan.

Stockham's preliminary exam started last Friday but was delayed after he fired his first court-appointed attorney, Mark Haidar. Stockham said Haidar is a Shiite Muslim and a "patron" of the Islamic center where Stockham was arrested.

Joe Nahhas, a manager at the Detroit bar Stockham visited before his arrest, said the defendant claimed to have become a Muslim after returning from the Vietnam War and said he recognized that Stockham could speak at least some Arabic. He also said Stockham claimed to be part of a group of Indonesian mujahedeen, or holy warriors.

Nahhas said he called police to report Stockham.

Haidar planned to request a competency hearing for Stockham based on his history of mental illness. The Vietnam veteran has been clinically diagnosed as bipolar and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. He has been caught during the past three decades for a string of felonies - from kidnapping his son and attempting to hijack a plane to planting a bomb outside an airport - and spent time in various prisons and mental health hospitals.

Evans acknowledges Stockham's history but maintains that his client is competent to assist in his own defense.

"There's no doubt he's got a mental health history," Evans said. "He's very eccentric and he's had some strong convictions. He's got some different ideas but he's not that far out."