Convicted Madison bomb maker sentenced to two years in prison

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MADISON (WKOW) — A Madison man convicted of experimenting with explosive materials in his Madison apartment has been sentenced to two years in prison.

Brian Campbell, 31, was sentenced following his conviction for possessing an improvised explosive device in his Madison apartment.

Campbell also was sentenced to three years of extended supervision.

He was charged with second degree recklessly endangering safety and possession of improvised explosives and the sentence runs concurrent for both charges.

Campbell also was banned from the apartment complex where he lived.

Prosecutors had asked that he be banned from all UW property, but the judge only banned him from the UW-Madison underground tunnel system.

“I’m deeply ashamed of the actions that I took during the year and a half I was doing these chemical experiments,” Campbell told the court.

In February 2018, local, state and federal authorities cleared Campbell’s west side Madison apartment of what authorities said were volatile, bomb-making materials, after neighbors complained of noxious smells. The apartment complex was evacuated for nearly a week.

Judge Susan Crawford said Campbell built two pipe bombs and had other bombs-in-the-making, in addition to the volatile mix of chemicals being stored in the apartment and a garage.

“Mr. Campbell’s actions did out a lot people in danger,”  Crawford said.  “And his explanations for why and how this happened are unsatisfactory.”

Campbell’s actions took place around the time a bomb-maker in a Beaver Dam apartment complex accidentally blew himself up, and prompted the destruction of his neighbors’s damaged apartment units.

Spokesperson Steve Rognsvoog of the Timber Lake Village Apartments where Campbell lived said the Beaver Dam incident weighed on the minds of Campbell’s neighbors, complex managers and staff.

“I believe the saddest, scariest part of this whole ordeal…is that after the fact, we all said we were lucky that it did not turn into the incident that happened in Beaver Dam,” Rognsvoog said.

Campbell’s sentencing was delayed from February after Assistant District Attorney John Rice claimed in a sentencing memorandum that Campbell had searched the internet for instructions on making explosives and drew maps of tunnels on the university’s campus, after accessing the off-limits areas when he was a student.

Campbell was banned from campus after he attacked a fellow member of the Hoofers Sailing Club in 2016.

In February, Campbell’s attorney Sarah Schmeiser called the memorandum’s claims of a possible UW attack plan and alleged similarities between Campbell and Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and other domestic terrorists “…fear-mongering and hyperbole.”

Crawford Monday called the possibility of a Campbell plan to attack campus “highly speculative.”

Campbell is an Eagle Scout with credits in higher education who his Illinois employer during Campbell’s time out of bail called a valuable worker.

“I have a hard time understanding sometimes even the person that allowed his living space to get so terrible,”  Campbell told the court Monday.

Schmeiser told the court Campbell has not fought court actions to try to recover the thousands of dollars in damage and dislocation costs associated with his actions at the apartment complex.





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