The Minnesota man accused of planting pipe bombs in Iowa and several other Midwestern states in 2002 -was- scheduled to appear today in federal court in Cedar Rapids — but won’t. 24-year-old Luke Helder has been in custody at a federal medical center in Rochester, Minnesota, since May where doctors are trying to determine whether he’s competent to stand trial for the mailbox bombings. What’s called a “status conference” is now scheduled to be done by phone with Helder’s doctors on Friday afternoon. His case captured the national spotlight a few months after the nine-eleven attacks. Some 18 pipebombs were placed in rural mailboxes in Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska and Texas. Six people were injured by explosions. When captured near Reno, Nevada, Helder claimed he was trying to make a smiley face on the map. His attorney has said she plans to use the insanity defense if the case ever goes to trial.
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