(UnitedVoice.com) – A Florida woman caught with a stash of pipe bombs has pleaded guilty to making the weapons — but escaped prison. Michelle Kolts was arrested in 2019, but soon after that, she was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Now, her lawyer has negotiated a deal that will keep her out of jail and give her mental health treatment.
When Michelle Kolts’ parents found homemade pipe bombs in her bedroom back in October 2019, they feared the worst. https://t.co/CfX03pLz5a
— FOX 13 Tampa Bay (@FOX13News) April 6, 2023
On October 3, 2019, Kolts’ parents, who are military reservists, found a collection of pipe bombs in the 27-year-old’s room while she was at work. They immediately called the police, who seized two dozen of the lethal devices plus guns, a bow, bomb-making materials, books about terrorist attacks and a “hit list” of potential targets. They arrested Kolts at her workplace and charged her with 24 counts of making, possessing and discharging a destructive device.
At a press conference announcing the arrest, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said Kolts had mental health issues and was “a little bit on the autism spectrum.” Kolts’s mental state turned out to be a vital factor in the case. Shortly after her arrest, she was found unfit to stand trial; it emerged that she had been receiving mental health treatment for years.
Her attorney Barry Taracks persuaded prosecutors that it was worth another try. After three more years of mental health evaluations and legal negotiations, Taracks struck a deal. On April 5, Kolts pleaded guilty to a reduced count of 10 destructive devices charges. In exchange for that plea, she avoided a trial and was spared prison. Instead, she was given a 24-month community control order, which will see her undergoing in-house mental health treatment, followed by 15 years of probation.
Taracks told journalists that Kolts won’t “suffer the stigma” of having a criminal conviction on her record — as long as she sticks to her probation terms and doesn’t commit any more crimes.
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