A Florida woman who was found in possession of a cache of pipe bombs admitted to constructing the explosives, yet she was released from prison. After being detained in 2019, schizophrenia was quickly discovered in Michelle Kolts. Now, her attorney has worked out a compromise to keep her out of jail and to provide her access to mental health care.
When Kolts, 27, was at work on October 3, 2019, her parents, who are military reservists, discovered a stash of pipe bombs in her room. They phoned the police right away, who arrived and confiscated two dozen of the deadly weapons along with firearms, a bow, bomb-making supplies, books about terrorist attacks, and a “hit list” of probable targets. At her place of employment, Kolts was taken into custody and is now facing 24 counts of creating, possessing, and using a harmful device.
Kolts’s mental state turned out to be a crucial element in the case, as Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister stated at a press conference announcing the arrest that Kolts had mental health concerns and was “a little bit on the autism spectrum.” She was declared ineligible to stand trial shortly after being arrested; it later came to light that she had been getting mental health therapy for years.
When Michelle Kolts’ parents found homemade pipe bombs in her bedroom back in October 2019, they feared the worst. https://t.co/CfX03pLz5a
— FOX 13 Tampa Bay (@FOX13News) April 6, 2023
Prosecutors were persuaded by her attorney Barry Taracks that it merited another shot. Taracks reached an agreement after three further years of legal wrangling and mental health assessments. On April 5, Kolts entered a guilty plea to a lesser charge of 10 offenses related to harmful devices.
She was spared jail time and a trial in exchange for the plea. Instead, she received a 24-month community control order with 15 years of probation that will require her to receive in-house mental health therapy.
As long as Kolts abides by the terms of her probation and doesn’t commit any more crimes, Taracks assured reporters that Kolts won’t “suffer the stigma” of having a criminal conviction on her record.