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Waterville man allegedly planned 'mass murder' in mosques

Xavier Pelkey, 18, allegedly planned to travel to Chicago and kill crowds of people in one or more mosques.

WATERVILLE, Maine — Prosecutors told a federal court judge on Tuesday that an 18-year-old Waterville man charged with possession of unregistered destructive devices planned to commit "mass murder" in mosques in Chicago.

Xavier Pelkey was arrested Feb. 11 by FBI agents and charged with one count of possession of unregistered destructive devices.

In affidavits filed in U.S. District Court in Bangor, FBI agents shared photos they said they took in Pelkey’s home of three homemade explosive devices containing fireworks, some with rows of staples wrapped around the fireworks, which prosecutors said were designed for maximum injury.

During a detention hearing held Tuesday by videoconference, Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Wolff said two juveniles told FBI agents in a now-sealed statement that Pelkey had spoken with them about a plan to go to a mosque in Chicago and, in Wolff’s words, “commit mass murder.”

Pelkey's plan allegedly also included attacking another mosque or synagogue and killing more people until being shot by police.

RELATED: Waterville man arrested after 'explosive devices' allegedly found in home

According to court documents, an FBI special agent who analyzed the explosives told the court in an affidavit that the metal items packed inside the devices were meant to increase the amount of shrapnel expelled during an explosion if the devices were to be detonated.  

"I asked him why the fireworks were taped together, and he said he wanted to make a 'bigger boom,'" the agent wrote.

Pelkey's attorney, Christopher K. MacLean, told Magistrate Judge John C. Nivison on Tuesday that Pelkey had been cooperative with investigators and denied the accusations.

The judge ordered Pelkey to be detained until the case goes to trial.

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