Trio faces charges in Belchertown explosions

  • Relentless Towing, at 111 Sargent St., Belchertown, was the site of three explosions in September 2018, police said. GOOGLE MAPS

Staff Writer
Published: 11/30/2018 6:59:53 PM

BELCHERTOWN — Three men pleaded not guilty in Eastern Hampshire District Court Friday morning to a series of charges related to explosives they allegedly set off in a towing company’s building and driveway in September.

Michael P. Granger, 20, of Ware, and Belchertown residents Brandon F. Humiston, 23, of 44 Springfield Road, and Travis B. Watts, 29, 164 Sabin St., all entered not guilty pleas before Judge Michael Mulcahy.

Granger and Watts are both facing three counts of secreting, throwing, launching or placing explosives and three counts of disorderly conduct, while Humiston is facing two counts of secreting, throwing launching or placing explosives and two counts of disorderly conduct.

All three men were released on their own personal recognizance and were advised by Mulcahay to stay out of trouble or risk being held without bail. Their cases will all be continued to a pre-trial hearing Jan. 29.

Granger and Humiston both requested and were given court-appointed attorneys, while Watts already has his own counsel.

The criminal complaints written by Belchertown Officer Michael T. Roney state that the explosions occurred at 4:45 p.m. Sept. 10 and were heard in the area of North Main Street and Daniel Shays Highway. While police got calls from several residents and responded, a second explosion was reported at 5:30 p.m. The investigation determined the explosions had occurred at 111 Sargent St., the site of Relentless Towing. 

In a statement of facts, Roney wrote that Granger and Watts “used a large trash bag filled with a mixture of acetylene and oxygen to build an explosive device.”  After securing a rag inside the bag, they used this rag as a wick, lit it and set off the the explosion in the building at Relentless Towing.

Granger, Humiston and Watts also used a “medical type rubber glove” and put acetylene and oxygen into this, which they then zip tied and lit on fire, causing an explosion in the driveway at the towing company.

A second trash bag explosion was also caused by Granger, Humiston and Watts in the company’s driveway, Roney wrote.

“The detonation of these devices caused the residents of Belchertown to become alarmed for their safety and caused multiple calls to police,” Roney wrote.

Despite the explosions, no property, other than what was in the trash bags and rubber glove, was damaged.

Belchertown Police identified the suspects within two days after the incidents and was assisted in its investigation by the Massachusetts State Police Bomb Squad, State Fire Marshal’s Office, Belchertown Fire Department, and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.


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