Kevin “Kayvon” Edson, the man who allegedly left two suspicious backpacks at Copley Square Tuesday night, was arraigned at Boston Municipal Court on five charges Wednesday morning and is being held on a bail of $100,000.
Charged with disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct, disturbing a public assembly, possession or use of a hoax device and making a false bomb threat, Edson is scheduled to return to court on May 7.
On Tuesday night, the Boston Police Department took the male suspect into custody and asked questions about the suspicious packages after finding him on Boylston Street, walking barefoot and wearing a large hat and black veil, BPD Superintendent Randall Halstead said in a Tuesday press conference.
The bomb squad was on the scene with BPD to investigate the objects and the surrounding area. Boylston Street between Dartmouth and Exeter Streets was evacuated and closed at about 7:30 p.m., said a BPD spokesperson.
Members of the community, including many members of the BPD, had been at the scene to pay tribute to the survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing on its anniversary when an officer noted the man’s suspicious behavior and approached him, said State Prosecutor Susan Terry at a court preceding Wednesday, aired on NECN.com.
BPD saw a device in the bag, and they ordered Edson to put the bag down. An evacuation order was declared, and the bomb squad was called in, Terry said. Edson was taken to Boston Public Library, where he was questioned and read his Miranda rights.
Officers discovered a rice cooker and robot mask upon searching the backpacks, she said. Edson informed BPD during questioning it was a non-explosive device.
“Edson said he knew what he was doing,” Terry said. “He said, ‘I knew what I was doing. It was being conceived in my head. It’s symbolism, come on. The performance got the best of me,’” Terry said.
Edson has a history of previous criminal offenses, Terry said, in which he had made admissions to assault and battery on a police officer. Other offenses on his record include a default in Massachusetts and previous incidents in N.Y.
“This defendant has shown a willingness to put his interests above those in society,” she said. “And he has shown a willingness to conceal his identity, both through the use of a veil and … the robot mask, and the use of make-up.”
Shannon Lopez, the defendant’s attorney, proposed at the preceding that Edson be held on a $5,000.
“$100,000 bail in light of Mr. Edson’s situation is just egregious and simply based on the sensitive nature of the sentiment of what’s happened in the city of Boston,” she said.
Edson was cooperative with officers and made no threats, Lopez said. He made it known that the device was a rice cooker when approached by police and had no intention of making a bomb threat.
Edson, originally from Wakefield, has lived in Massachusetts for his entire life, Lopez said, except for two years, when he attended Parsons The New School of Design and Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. He now attends Massachusetts College of Art and Design.
Diagnosed at age 19 with bipolar disorder, Edson has received medication and has a history of previous hospitalizations, according to the medical examiner at the preceding. Lopez said the doctor agreed Edson was not a danger to society.
Several residents said Edson should be punished for the hoax to show the community that Boston will not tolerate serious offenses of the kind.
Greg Preston, 27, of Back Bay, said Edson’s actions were morally wrong, and he should be punished because he was aware of the crime he was committing.
“He should be held on bail of at least $50,000, and it’s something he should be punished for,” he said. “He obviously knew what he was doing because of where he was and when it happened. It was premeditated, and it was a terrible prank.”
John Smith, 57, of Back Bay, said if Edson is not deemed mentally unstable, he deserves time in prison.
“There are a lot of crazy people out there, and he seemed crazy,” he said. “If he doesn’t have a mental disorder, they’re saying he’ll get 20 years, and that’s appropriate. He should definitely be held on $100,000 bail though.”
David Butler, 59, of Dorchester, said Edson’s performance is something BPD should not tolerate and the community needs to know that.
“I don’t know what his punishment should be, but we need to get the point across,” he said. “We shouldn’t tolerate such kinds of nonsense. We need to send the message that acts like this just aren’t funny and are taken seriously.