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Tabor man sentenced to decade in prison after homemade bomb misfires, hospitalizing him

In an information file submitted to the court, Hansen was labeled as a habitual offender, having been previously convicted of selling, transporting or possessing a destructive device and possession of a controlled substance.

Bon Homme County Sheriff.jpg
Mitchell Republic file photo
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TYNDALL, S.D. — A Tabor man was sentenced to spend a decade in prison after a homemade bomb misfired, injuring him in August.

Joseph Hansen, 30, of Tabor, pleaded guilty but mentally ill to one count of possessing explosives after a violent crime conviction, a significant reduction from the nearly dozen explosives charges previously lodged against him. Under South Dakota law, anyone convicted after entering a guilty but mentally ill plea is allowed to serve some or all of their sentence under the care of the Department of Social Services.

As a result of his plea, Hansen was sentenced to 25 years in prison, 15 of which were suspended, with credit for 291 days served in county jail. Criminal fines were dismissed, though he’s still required to pay $119.50 in court costs.

The conviction stems from Aug. 20, 2021, when the Bon Homme County Sheriff’s Office was called to the 100 block of East Chicago Street in Tabor after a resident reported that they heard an explosion and saw a man lying unresponsive with thermal burns in his driveway.

As police conducted an investigation, one witness said they saw Hansen in possession of a pipe bomb, while another witness said they saw him boiling gasoline. When asked by a witness, Hansen allegedly said he was making napalm — a highly flammable sticky jelly used in bombs and flamethrowers.

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According to court documents, Hansen admitted to possessing 48 60-gram firework artillery shells, gasoline, propane and a detonation cord. He allegedly admitted planning to deconstruct the artillery shells, extract the powder, and make 12 pipe bombs. After completing three to five pipe bombs, Hansen allegedly said one of them exploded.

With a search warrant, authorities say bomb technicians found two assembled pipe bombs, each containing "suspected energetic material with hobby fuse coming out of one side." They also found nine other empty, but capped, pipes near a hobby fuse and fireworks.

In an information file submitted to the court, Hansen was labeled as a habitual offender, having been previously convicted of selling, transporting or possessing a destructive device and possession of a controlled substance.

While in prison, Hansen is required to abide by all rules set forth by the South Dakota Board of Pardons and Parole as well as follow any orders by physicians regarding his mental health.

Though federal law states that it is illegal to manufacture, store, distribute, receive or transport explosive materials without a federal explosives license or permit, no federal charges have been filed against Hansen.

Related Topics: CRIME AND COURTS
Dunteman covers general and breaking news as well as crime in the Mitchell Republic's 17-county coverage area. He grew up in Harrisburg, and has lived in South Dakota for over 20 years. He joined the Mitchell Republic in June 2021 after earning his bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota Duluth. He can be reached at HDunteman@MitchellRepublic.com, or on Twitter @HRDunt.
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