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Billings man charged with placing explosives along roads

Billings man charged with placing explosives along roads
James George Coleman in court (October 12, 2023)
Posted at 10:47 AM, Oct 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-12 13:31:11-04

James George Coleman, 57 years old, appeared in Yellowstone County District Court for arraignment and pleaded not guilty to seven felony charges filed following his arrest during a massive police action Tuesday that forced the closure of a busy stretch of highway in the Heights.

Authorities allege Coleman made small explosive devices at his residence off Highway 312 and placed the devices along roads over the last several months. Billings police received several complaints from drivers who ran over the devices, but no injuries or damages were reported.

James George Coleman appeared in district court for arraignment Thursday by video from the Yellowstone County jail.

Billings police officers and deputies from the Yellowstone County Sheriff's Office descended on the area near Coleman's residence Tuesday afternoon, where Coleman was arrested and the police department's bomb squad led an extensive search of the property.

The raid closed a stretch of highway between Main Street and Independent Lane for several hours.

Billings man charged with placing explosives along roads
October 11, 2023

Authorities said the search resulted in the seizure of explosives, firearms, and methamphetamine.

In court on Thursday, a prosecutor asked that Coleman's bond be set at $150,000. The prosecutor said that while no one was injured by the explosive devices there was a risk that the devices could have caused serious injury. She described Coleman as a "danger to the community."

A public defender asked for a bond of $10,000 saying Coleman has a local residence and limited criminal history.

Judge Rod Souza set bond at $100,000 after noting the danger posed by the explosives and the presence of drugs and firearms in Coleman's residence.

Coleman is charged with four counts of felony criminal endangerment, two counts of felony drug possession, and one count of felony possession of explosives.