FORT EDWARD -- A Washington County jury took less than three hours to acquit a Hudson Falls man of two felony charges relating to an explosive device he was found carrying in July.

The jury only convicted Jason Babson, 30, of one misdemeanor count of possession of fireworks.

Jurors entered deliberations about 1:15 p.m. after attorneys for the prosecution and defense gave their closing statements. They returned with a verdict about 4 p.m.

"There were a few among us who simply believed that because the device was a bomb that he was guilty of the first-degree count," said juror Mike London of Greenwich.

But he said jurors quickly determined that the first-degree weapons charge was not warranted, and they began to focus on the lesser third-degree charge.

Ultimately, they decided that the prosecution had failed to prove that Babson intended to use the device or that he knowingly was carrying a bomb, convicting him only of the fireworks charge.

Defense attorney Joseph Brennan had claimed that his client was only guilty of possessing fireworks when he was arrested by Hudson Falls police on the morning of July 4.

Brennan said the device Babson made was constructed to only produce a loud bang to celebrate the day.

"You heard Jason Babson from the witness stand that if he ever had the capacity to make a bomb, he would not have made it," Brennan said during his summation. "This device was not made to cause injury or damage to anyone."

Babson faced two felony charges, one for first-degree weapons possession and another for third-degree weapons possession, in addition to the misdemeanor fireworks charge. A fourth charge, reckless in endangerment, was tossed out by Washington County Judge Kelly McKeighan.

Brennan sought to discredit the testimony of a witness who said Babson told her he planned on blowing up a school with the device.

In his testimony, Babson said he told Shelby Mumblo that he had to "be at a school" later that day for a race.

Mumblo, Brennan said, misheard Babson.

Washington County District Attorney Kevin Kortright told the jury that testimony from a State Police bomb squad member proved Babson had a dangerous device.

"A firework can be a bomb," Kortright said in his closing argument. "If you're sending out shrapnel, you can do damage to people."

State Police Sgt. Timothy Fischer testified on Wednesday that the device was similar to a hand grenade.

Kortright also pointed out that Babson planned on leaving the area the next day and was bound for Pennsylvania.

"Evidence shows he was going to set this off and be out of the area," Kortright said.

(12) comments

BigDaddy

Washington County DA loses another case

Mr What

Oh Post star... How are you feeling about backing this DA election choice?

beemull

Outstanding! This is a case that the County SHOULD have lost. The citizen won, and that's what courts are for! This guy really did nothing wrong, and was whacked with resume-building, trumped up and grossly inflated charges by selfish, irresponsible police officers who have no interest in protecting the citizenry when they find a potential golden goose like this to pad their pension fund. It was proper of the DA to stand down, and for the jury to see the truth of the situation. True grit.

Rich-P
Rich-P

Regardless of who may be hiding behind a username and using this forum to belittle Washington County's head prosecutor, this story is not about the DA.

The jury has arrived at what appears to be a sensible conclusion.

I, as I'm sure everyone who has commented here, was not at the trial and cannot speak in a fully-informed manner. Those who think otherwise are, perhaps, not thinking.

PfortE

I agree. This guy made a knuckle-headed move, but sending him to prison would have been a grave injustice.

incrediblywellinformed
incrediblywellinformed

Good for him.

Bryan,
You still believe that he should not have been charged, even if it were a real grenade. Your misguided fervor for justice is still way off.

IX_EQUILIBRIUM

A firework can be a bomb? How about a firework IS a bomb. However, so is dynamite which is used legaly by mining or blastin companies. A propane tank and or gasoline tanker are also potential bombs which can throw shrapnel. You need explosive force to make your car move. Any of these things are potentially dangerous (maybe less so with the engine) and can maim and kill if they go off accidentaly. So, if this is the case then should not just about the entire population of the US be chared with felony weapons posession? Seriously, this risk averse society and oll of its Nanny State BS is getting a little out of hand. Who wants to take bets that some of these cops never built improvised explosive devices when they were kids? Show of hands?

beemull

IX_EQUILIBRIUM: Well said.

Inky: Thanks for the recap Captain Obvious, but I'm actually familiar with my own views. I do indeed believe that we are born with natural rights, and that no person or group can lawfully abrogate them- just like your nose, your personality or your honor. I can't speak for you, but I'm getting the sense that you prefer the security of having your life controlled by authority. Like a subject, or a pet. It's sad to me, but you must remain free to choose that. I cannot accept that for myself. I guess we're different.
There, got that out of the way... let's stop talking about each other now (I know all about me, don't wish to share it with strangers online, and I have no interest in discussing details about you in this forum) and return to the discussion about the article, k?

incrediblywellinformed
incrediblywellinformed

IX_EQUILIBRIUM,
"So, if this is the case then should not just about the entire population of the US be chared with felony weapons posession?"

NO. You have to do what the D.A. failed to do, which was prove intent, which was difficult, given the fact that the incident was probably difficult to do as the case was close to Independence Day. The things you listed COULD be, IF they were used with the intent to commit some crime. Crime being an incident that violates penal laws. A crime is NOT an act that harms someone, as Bryan has stated in the past. By that crime definition, I can be charged for accidentally stepping on someone's foot, if they are harmed and receive injury.

"How about a firework IS a bomb." Yes, and the intention for that device is for entertainment, but someone could have he INTENT to misuse it for a criminal act. SO, the D.A failed to prove beyond doubt, intent, which is why this case fell apart.

Do you get it now?

incrediblywellinformed
incrediblywellinformed

'It was proper of the DA to stand down, and for the jury to see the truth of the situation. True grit."

They did not do that because they were worried about what you believe is his right to have an explosive device, they could not prove intent. Do you think they are going to give that device back because he was found not guilty??? If it were his 2nd Amendment right to have a bomb/firework, then where was the ACLU or The NRA?

That is just funny! Glad you are back posting :-)

incrediblywellinformed
incrediblywellinformed

Bryan,
Let's recap! You believe 2nd Amendment rights involve owning explosives for personal defense. You believe that if children are deemed "responsible", they can carry handguns. When someone gives you a likely disaster that can happen as a result of your dystopian dream, you claim they are throwing out a "straw man" argument. You say that if someone, who you feel can have a grenade hurts anyone while using it, defending himself, should then be prosecuted. What else can happen if someone uses a grenade for personal defense? Am I missing anything?

Your statement serves nothing more than to spotlight your misguided beliefs and your unjustified sense of superiority, that makes you look like an arrogant simpleton. You get arrogant and accuse me of being nothing more than a sheep because I don't want children to own handguns, or have someone like Mr. Babson carry a grenade like device around people.

Inky??? I thought YOU claimed to be above name calling and arrogance.

Watch Out

DA originally asked for $5,000,000 bail for this case that ended up with a fireworks violation conviction.

Boy, I can't believe that the jury was so screwed up because the DA wouldn't have asked for so much bail unless he had the goods on this guy--not.

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