FRESNO – A man from Oklahoma was sentenced on Tuesday to 13 years in prison for mailing a pipe bomb to a Visalia business in 2009.
Vernon Dale Mustin, 52, intended the pipe bomb for his brother, Danny Mustin. In September 2009, he mailed a package containing five pipe bombs inside a tackle box to his brother’s business, Cal-Air Cooling and Heating, in Visalia. Instead, Aaron Mustin, Danny Mustin’s son and co-owner of the business, opened the package.
Only one of the pipe bombs went off, according to prosecutor Karen Escobar. Aaron Mustin suffered flash burns and cuts to his hands and face. Escobar said that if all five of the pipe bombs had gone off, Aaron Mustin could have died.
Earlier this year, Vernon Mustin pleaded guilty to mailing an explosive device with the intent to cause injury or death. He sent the package, which was addressed to Danny Mustin, to a re-mail service in Roseville in Placer County. The package was then sent to the Visalia business.
Defense lawyers for Vernon Mustin said that their client had an untreated mental illness that left him paranoid and delusional. They asked that the judge take this into account and give him a lesser sentence.
However, U.S. District Judge Oliver W. Wanger handed down the maximum sentence of 13 years, saying that it took Mustin a “high level of mental functioning” to carry out the scheme. He also pointed ou