CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) -- The college student accused of planting pipe bombs in five states pleaded innocent Friday during his arraignment in federal court.
Luke Helder, 21, of Pine Island, Minn., made a brief 10-minute appearance before Magistrate John Jarvey and then was quickly escorted back to the Linn County Jail.
Helder was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury.
He was charged with using a pipe bomb to destroy Delores Werling's mailbox, used in interstate commerce, in rural Tipton on May 3. A conviction on that count could bring up to 40 years in prison.
He also is charged with using a bomb in a crime of violence, which could bring a sentence of up life in prison if convicted.
Werling, 70, was injured in the face and arms by flying shards of metal when the bomb went off. She also suffered some hearing loss.
Jarvey scheduled a Sept. 16 trial date.
Helder is accused of putting 18 pipe bombs and anti-government letters in mailboxes in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, Colorado and Texas. His cross-country odyssey ended near Reno, Nev., where he was arrested May 7.
Helder smiled briefly Friday as he entered the courtroom, in contrast to his tired, somber appearance during his last court date in May.
Six pipe bombs exploded in Iowa and Illinois, injuring four letter carriers and two residents.
Helder's parents, who live in Pine Island, did not attend the hearing.
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