ADAMS -- A 59-year-old man arrested after initiating Sunday's Park Street evacuation was arraigned and released on personal recognizance in Northern Berkshire District Court on Tuesday.
James V. Bourdon, of Highland Avenue in West Springfield, is charged with lewdness, open and gross indecent exposure, and possession of an unsecured and loaded weapon. Judge Rita Koenigs sat for the arraignment and declined a request from the commonwealth to set Bourdon's bail at $5,000 on account of his mental state.
Bourdon was arrested Sunday morning by Adams police after employees of Park Street's Daily Grind reported him masturbating in his vehicle outside the restaurant. After the arrest, "items of concern" in Bourdon's car prompted authorities to close Park Street for four hours while a State Police Bomb Squad unit was flown in from Boston to investigate.
It came to light in court Tuesday that while searching the vehicle after Bourdon's arrest, Officer Joshua Baker turned up a note stating that the vehicle's doors were rigged to a bomb that would explode if opened "without [an] access code." The note, coupled with additional items present including a CO2 canister, a DC to AC electric power converter, a loaded .22 rifle, jumper cables and an "object clipped to the passenger visor with batteries exposed," led authorities to initiate the bomb squad response.
As a result, 40 residents were evacuated from the area, the First Congregational Church on Park Street canceled its Sunday service, all Park Street businesses were closed, and the town's Veterans Day ceremony was moved from the Town Hall lawn to the Adams Visitors Center.
After Tuesday's arraignment, a cousin of Bourdon's, who wished to remain unnamed, alleged that Sunday's events were a misunderstanding -- and highlighted facts corroborated in Adams Police reports and the defendant's recorded statement.
The cousin said Bourdon lives in low-income housing in West Springfield -- a "rough area" -- and that both Bourdon's apartment and car have been broken into and robbed more than once as of late.
"He had the note and bomb-looking device in his car so that it looked like if you tried to break into it, you were going to have some problems," Bourdon's cousin said.
Bourdon suffers from Parkinson's disease and receives medication for the ailment, as he and attorney Mark J. Pasquariello attested in court Tuesday.
"I have a serious case of Parkinson's [disease]," Bourdon told the court. " ... Everything [that happened] can be explained."
Reports say that Bourdon claimed his medication heightens sexual urges and led to the cause of hi s arrest.
In court Tuesday, the defendant was characterized as a self-taught electrical engineer, a 1971 graduate of Charles H. McCann Technical School and a former employee of General Electric. He's been disabled and received Social Security disability income for the past six years due to his illness. The symptoms are such that Bourdon has trouble walking unassisted at times.
Bourdon was in town Sunday visiting his parents, who live in a local elderly housing facility.
"We're trying to get him not to go back [to West Spring field]," Bourdon's cousin said. "We're trying to get as much help as we can."
A pretrial hearing has been scheduled for Dec. 12.