Trial proceedings are slated to get under way Monday for one of two men accused of placing booby-traps designed to kill Hemet police officers.
Steven William Hansen, 38, of Homeland, is charged with carrying out at least four unsuccessful attacks targeting law enforcement officials.
Nicholas John Smit, 40, of Hemet, is charged with similar crimes.
Their cases were severed at the request of the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, permitting the defendants to be tried separately.
Smit’s case is expected to go before a jury later this month.
During a preliminary hearing in December, investigators and acquaintances of the defendants testified that they harbored ill will toward the police department and were overheard plotting at least one attack.
Hemet police Sgt. Matthew Hess and Detective Chuck Johnson are named in court documents as the intended targets.
Former District Attorney Rod Pacheco said during a July 2010 news briefing that Johnson arrested Smit in June 2009 on drug charges Hansen was paroled from prison in March 2010 after serving time for arson.
The pair, who once shared a house, are believed responsible for a failed attack on the Hemet Police Station June 4, 2010.
Authorities said they climbed to the roof of a grocery store across the street and rigged a bazooka to fire into the
building, but it failed to launch. It was later learned the rocket was a training device with no warhead, officials said.
Smit alone is charged with rigging an improvised device to Johnson’s patrol unit in March 2010, but it caused no harm.
Smit also charged with placing a zip gun on a gate at the task force’s headquarters on Feb. 23, 2010. The device was triggered when Hess opened the gate, firing a bullet that narrowly missed him, according to investigators.
The attacks began with a New Year’s Eve 2009 attempt to blow up the Hemet-San Jacinto gang task force’s building by rerouting a natural gas line into the facility.
A spark could have ignited the gas, but the set-up was discovered in time, authorities said.