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Criminal charges dropped in Chena Ridge explosion

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Posted: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 10:00 am | Updated: 10:28 am, Wed Feb 27, 2013.

FAIRBANKS - The criminal case has been dismissed against a Fairbanks man who was accused of setting off a destructive explosion last month in the Chena Ridge neighborhood.

Following the explosion, Fairbanks chiropractor and business owner Guy “Chris” Mannino was charged with felony criminal mischief, the crime of recklessly putting the property of others at risk.

Neighbors said shockwaves from the blast, which was heard as far away as North Pole, did at least $15,000 in damage to windows and other property.

Alaska State Troopers said there was evidence Mannino detonated the blast and recommended a felony charge under the theory that blowing up more than 300 pounds of explosives put more than $100,000 in property at risk.

A Fairbanks grand jury disagreed last week. Asked to indict Mannino to continue the prosecution, the grand jury returned a “no true bill” instead of an indictment.

“The grand jury, after careful deliberation, decided that Mr. Mannino’s conduct was not criminal in nature,” Fairbanks District attorney Michael Gray said by e-mail.

Because the grand jury failed to indict, the state cannot again pursue the case unless new evidence emerges. In some cases the state can pursue misdemeanor charges if the grand jury does not indict, but in this case the misdemeanor version of criminal mischief corresponds with the crime of intentionally damaging up to $500 worth of property, not Mannino’s alleged reckless conduct.

 “There is no corresponding misdemeanor charge which would apply to this situation: it’s either the C felony charged, or not a crime,” Gray said. “The grand jury told us it was not a crime. The criminal prosecution is over.”  

The state’s case against Mannino was dropped Friday and his $5,250 bail was returned today, according to court records.

Contact staff writer Sam Friedman at 459-7545. Follow him on Twitter, @FDNMcrime

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